The Regional District of Central Kootenay board have directed staff to investigate options for an optimal recycling depot program in the Central sub-region, including a deeper analysis of depot equipment options and costs.
“We’re looking at changing the way we handle our recycling,” said Central Resource Recovery Committee chair and Area F director Ron Mickel. Presently Multi Material BC is not providing that service for the RDCK.
Central includes rural areas from Salmo to Meadow Creek, including areas D, E, F, G, and Nelson, Balfour, Ymir, Salmo and Kaslo.
“One of the reasons is we spend a lot of money per tonne of recyclables with the system we have in place,” said Mickel. ” We’ve always thought ‘OK, they are talking about the number of depots that we have,’ but we try to service everybody.”
“But we’re also very inefficient.”
“Right now we’re doing our recycling in these large 40 cubic yard containers. They contain mostly air and we move them miles and miles. We go all the way up Meadow Creek to pick them up. Just like our solid waste transfer system, which we’ve upgraded.”
This prompted him to ask staff why they couldn’t change so that they compact on site and haul compacted material instead.
How they go about that is another matter. Mickel said the 40 cubic meter yard containers will likely be replaced by front load six cubic yard containers, just more of them.
“Then we would have to have a front load compactor truck to service those instead of the way we’re doing it now.”
He said front loading is the current system being used by Waste Management in Nelson, and in the RDCK’s West and East waste sub-regions.
“[Central] is the only sub-region that has staff do the [recycling].”
While the RDCK waits to sign an agreement with MMBC, recycling in the regional district continues under the status quo with a depot system, while Nelson, Nakusp, Kaslo, and Castlegar have curbside pick-up.
“It has really come to a head with MMBC taking some of our recycling, our containers are being serviced with even less material than they were before so we’re basically doing two systems. If anything, its raised the cost of dealing with recycling in the central region so we have to find a way to make it more economical.”
And Mickel said the current system is costly. “A lot of travel miles, a lot of trucks and a lot of gas,” he said.
Some areas like Kaslo are serviced by MMBC, which takes some of the volume of recyclables the RDCK has to deal with, but as Mickel pointed out, “We still have to drive just as much.”
“There is more than one system out there so we’re hoping they can lead us to the most economic and efficient [option] in the long run.”
The environmental section of RDCK, which includes solid waste, will be working on the report. The board is expecting the report to be presented by staff in February 2015.