If you need to buy a new supply of blue recycle bags, don’t buy too many. They will be useless after July 1.
That’s the date that Recycle BC will start using blue re-usable containers instead. But whether the City of Nelson will supply them or residents will have to buy their own is still up in the air.
According to Nelson’s head of public works Colin Innes, Recycle BC wants municipalities to buy the containers so they will be uniform in size and shape.
Nelson is not so sure about that idea, and would rather just tell residents to get a dark blue plastic bin, maximum 32 gallons, with a lid, and use that. Residents would purchase and own their own bin, as they do with their garbage containers.
“We are open to whatever container they want to bring to the table,” Innes told the Star. “If you had an old aluminum garbage can that is not more than 32 gallons and you want to put blue paint on it and call it your recycling bin, we were prepared to work with you. But RBC wants uniformity across the system.”
The city and Recycle BC are still discussing this.
Recycle BC runs recycle programs in most of B.C. including Nelson. It pays Nelson to do the curbside pick up, so the recycle program costs Nelson taxpayers nothing. In turn, Recycle BC is paid by the manufacturers of the recycled paper and packaging products with some support from the provincial government.
The kinds of material that may be put in the recycling will not change, Innes said, who points out that this is not up to the city but to Recycle BC.
New garbage truck
Along with a new pick-up system comes a new garbage truck, to be purchased by the city before the summer to replace the 12-year-old current vehicle.
Innes says the city has chosen a truck design that can take regular garbage in one compartment and allow city employees to dump the recycle bin contents in another. Loading will be done manually.
The new truck will cost about $250,000 and will be paid for from the city’s vehicle fleet reserve. The need for the truck has been anticipated in city budget meetings for several years.
Annual garbage fees going up
For 2020 the city has decided to raise the annual $40 fee charged to residents to $45, partly because of the need for a third staff person on the truck for a transition period, and also because the Regional District of Central Kootenay has increased the fees for leaving waste at the Grohman transfer station from $100 to $110 per tonne.
Innes pointed out that this is the first increase in waste fees in Nelson in 13 years.
He said it costs the city about $285,000 to collect household waste.
The city earns $114,000 from garbage tags and will earn $173,000 with the increased $45 fee, for a total of $287,000.
The city also gets about $143,000 from Recycle BC as payment for picking up its curbside recycling, which goes into the city’s general revenue.