Blue recycling bags are on the way out.
They will be gone from the province by 2020, according to Allen Langdon, who heads Recycle BC, which manages recycling across the province.
“We are doing it because we want to get away from single use containers such as blue bags,” Langdon said. “Also we have found that the vast majority of these bags are not being recycled. They are ending up in the landfill and that is not something we as a recycling organization can support.”
He said his organization’s customers, such as the City of Nelson, will have to decide what reusable container system to use.
City manager Kevin Cormack says Nelson has not yet figured out how this will work, but “we are working with options that would allow us to continue to pick up recycling and waste at the same time.”
Recycle BC pays Nelson about $136,000 per year to pick up they city’s residential recycling, so it costs Nelson taxpayers nothing. In turn, Recycle B.C. is paid by the manufacturers of the recycled products with some support from the provincial government.
Cormack said Nelson has “one of the most cost effective collection programs in the province if not all of Canada. This is based on being able to collect both waste and recycling in the same vehicle with the same staff. The blue bags make this easier as we can throw blue bags in one side and the waste in the other side of the truck. We need to look at how we can collect this same material from our residents by a different method.”
He said Nelson’s collection truck is up for replacement soon and a decision will have to be made on what type of truck to get, given Recycle BC’s new container requirements and the challenges of Nelson’s steep and narrow streets and alleys.
In the meantime, the Regional District of Central Kootenay is still in negotiations with Recycle BC to have rural areas surrounding Nelson included in Recycle BC’s program. Presently, rural recycling is paid for by rural and Nelson taxpayers.