Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, but don’t return?

It’s not quite to the state of turning you away with your weekly recycling items, but if things continue along the way they are, recycling in British Columbia could be a problematic thing to try and do.

The market for recyclables has crashed across North America, where once many recyclable items were fetching $100 a tonne as late as last month, the going price for many of them now is minus six, meaning it’s costing the recycling plants money to keep things moving in their clogged warehouses.

Over on the Charlottes there is a backlog of items for recycling as well, though the problems there seem to be more of managerial confusion rather than any form of crisis in the chain of delivery to destination locations.

Recycling problems continue in Sandspit
Queen Charlotte islands Observer
November 14, 2008

Islanders were talking trash about the recycling system again. At the Nov. 12 Moresby Island Management Committee meeting in Sandspit, several people said the bins were overflowing, but calls of complaint to the regional district were not being returned.Resident Bente Sutherland said she'd gotten hold of a recycling pick-up schedule (from an employee of the regional district, she said) and Sandspit was not even on the list, although Queen Charlotte had scheduled stops two days a week.

The Observer called SQRD Regional Recycling in Prince Rupert and talked with manager Tim Deschamps to find out what's up. He couldn't speak to the schedule Ms Sutherland may have seen without seeing it himself, but said the usual protocol is staff at the landfill in Port Clements get a call when the bins are full.

"Then we go," he said. "It's usually once every two weeks or so."He repeated what Regional District administrator John Holland said last week. "We had two employees out at the same time," so that may have been why the bins are overflowing.

"We are still servicing Sandspit," he said to allay any concerns. He said to advise landfill staff if the bins were full and if people aren't receiving satisfactory service from them to call him in Prince Rupert.

Others at the MIMC meeting were troubled by computer and electronics recycling fees. Since last August, consumers have been paying a fee when buying new products, which covers costs of recycling end-of-life electronics. But committee member Carol Wagner said she called Encorp, the organization in charge of stewardship, and she was told to take her used electronics to the closest depot in Prince Rupert.

She wasn't satisfied, questioning why islanders must pay the tax, but not get the service.MIMC chair Gail Henry suggested the regional district put a pick up spot consisting of a pallet with a heavy-duty plastic bag out somewhere on the islands.

Mr. Deschamp said the electronics stewardship program has approached the regional district about establishing an islands electronics depot, but the problem is on the RD end. "We don't have the warehouse space to accommodate the volume," he said. The recycling depot in Queen Charlotte is already at capacity. "Adding four or five more skids of material in there is not feasible." He said they are looking for more warehouse space anyway because the recycling program is going to have to move out of the QC village office location by the end of 2009, when QC takes over road maintenance and will need the space.

The Tyee has the details of the sudden collapse of many of the recycling options as part of their regular feature “The Hook”.

It will be with interest that Rupertites watch the developments and if they will have an impact on the local system in place at the Kaien Road facility in the Industrial Park, which still takes all items so far, despite the crashing market elsewhere.

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