The bags made a mess so they’re bringing in bins.
The West Coast’s recycling contractor, SonBird, is urging locals to keep their recycling materials dry prior to their fortnightly pickup days, but that’s no small feat in a rainforest’s climate and the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District is stepping in to assist.
The ACRD began delivering roughly 1,200 lidded, garbage-bin-like, recycling containers to residential homes in Tofino, Ucluelet and Electoral Area C and had roughly 200 left to distribute as of Tuesday morning.
Recycling falls under the regional district’s jurisdiction and the new bins were lobbied for by the ACRD’s West Coast Committee, based on local input that suggested the plastic bags distributed several years ago to store recyclables weren’t effective at keeping items dry or contained.
“Based on feedback from residents and challenges the contractor was having with the bags, it was brought to the attention of the West Coast Committee that, maybe, there was a better way,” Tofino mayor Josie Osborne told the Westerly News.
“The hope is more people will use the bins because they do have a lid and it keeps things dry. While there’s a certain amount of tolerance for wet or damp paper or cardboard, at some point, it becomes un-recyclable.”
ACRD manager of environmental services Andrew McGifford said the bins are only being delivered to residences and that commercial properties or multi-family zoned areas like trailer courts and apartment buildings fall under a different program.
“We just needed a covered vessel basically to put the product in so that it wasn’t getting wet or blowing around,” he said echoing Osborne’s suggestion that the plastic bags did not work.
“That was problematic obviously, you empty the bag and it starts blowing all over the place…The garbage cans are actually a good delivery method for that recycling product.”
He said residents will be hit with a one-time $15 charge for the new container, which will come out of their annual recycling bill.
Locals are under no obligation to use the new bin, but McGiffords hopes many will try it out.
“Its recommended that you do,” he said. “It’s really up to the resident to use that. What we don’t want is people to use bags anymore.”
He said an informational sticker has been placed on each bin to help locals understand which recyclable materials can be picked up and which need to be taken to the depot.
“Items that are not accepted are your glass, your styrofoam and your plastic film. All those items have to go to the recycling depot,” he said.
“Your bins will have information inside on the details of what can be accepted, but there’s general descriptions on the stickers on the outside.”
He added it’s important to share that information wherever possible because different municipalities have different recycling regulations and that inconsistency can confuse new residents.
“Sometimes, you have people that come into the community that might use the bin and they don’t know what the program is because each municipality is a little bit different depending on what program they’re under,” he said.
“It’s not consistent throughout the province. So, if you have somebody come in from out of town, they can utilize that bin and understand what they can and cannot put in that bin.”
Osborne encourages locals to put their names and addresses on their new bins.