Changes coming at recycling depot

Multi Material B.C. starts the marketing of recyclables this May 19, taking over from the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society the task of selling the paper, plastic and metal collected at curbside.

Recycling depot crews, however, still will collect the recyclables as usual from residents’ driveways so people won’t notice any difference.

“We’re optimistically excited,” said Kim Day, executive-director with the recycling society. “Everybody wants it to work, because everybody agrees with it, in theory.”

MMBC is a new industry organization that charges manufacturers for the packaging used in their products, with the goal of reducing the amount of waste going into garbage dumps.

“We still bring it in here. We still bale it and get it ready to go. That’s basically what we do now,” Day said.

“Nothing will change, the same as usual.”

The thorny issue of newspaper collection and recycling, however, still hasn’t been resolved.

Canadian Newspaper Association chairman Peter Kvarnstrom, who is publisher of a paper in Sechelt, warned the new system will be “catastrophic” to B.C. community and daily newspapers, resulting in job losses in an already challenged industry and reduced service to communities.

Newspapers say they face a $14-million-a-year bite out of their operations because of the 20 cents per kilogram they will pay on newsprint, compared to less than half a penny in Ontario.

Under the new system with MMBC, recycling, garbage and green waste will be separate functions.

That’s already the case with the Maple Ridge depot compared to other cities that have contracts for several services.

Paint, oil and pesticide areas at the recycling depot have been moved around. Reorganization is also underway at the garbage transfer station to accommodate collection of green waste.

Metro Vancouver requires its cities to collect green waste by next year.

Maple Ridge council recently approved spending $730,000 on a new baler that will allow compaction of paper, plastics, cardboard and metal into one-tonne cubes that are easy to sell and transport.

Coun. Corisa Bell wanted to delay the purchase because it was too close to the  November civic elections. A new council could opt for an entirely new model of waste and recyclable collection.

Bell said many people in the district want municipal garbage collection and said a new council may have to respond to that.

The new baler will operate whether the current system remains or under the new arrangement between Maple Ridge and Multi-Material B.C., Mayor Ernie Daykin said previously.

“If MMBC doesn’t work out, we just go back to the system that’s already in place.”

The recycling society had its annual meeting recently and heard from a Multi Material representative who reviewed the program.

In May 2011, the province made industry responsible for recycling of packaging and paper, with a goal to raise the recycling rate from 50 per cent up to 75 per cent.  Multi-Material British Columbia was established to develop a stewardship plan to collect, process and re-sell the recycled material.

Maple Ridge, along with many cities in Metro Vancouver, has signed deals with MMBC as part of the province’s aim at recycling packaging and paper.

The provincially mandated system is designed to make generators of packaging and paper pay to collect and process it, but business critics contend it will be onerous due to high costs, paperwork and reporting obligations.

Fraser Plastics, a Maple Ridge processing company, claims it may be forced to close because of the changes.

MMBC claims Fraser Plastics was part of a failed bidding group for the contract, which the latter denies.

MMBC also says there’s plastic outside its control that Fraser could still get. Fraser Plastics says that is true, but it’s not enough and much uncertainty hangs over it.

– with files from Jeff Nagel


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