Major changes have been announced in the region to curbside garbage and recycling programs.
Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton, who chairs the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board, said changes to a program like this can be temporarily confusing.
“We don’t make these changes lightly. As every homeowner knows, you get into a routine putting out your trash and recycling. But we believe these changes will help us reduce waste going to landfill, make our programs more efficient and ultimately save money for taxpayers,” said Ashton.
The changes stem from a new waste management plan being created by the RDOS. Because of the changes, new curbside calendars and other information will be sent out to homeowners this month.
“I’ve been involved with local recycling programs for over 25 years and the RDOS has become a recognized leader in recycling,” said Don Hamilton, RDOS solid waste facilities co-ordinator. “It is not easy to see a reduction in terms of the items that can be collected from your home.”
The introduction of the blue bag recycling program will allow residents to place all of their clean and dry recyclables in the same clear or clear blue bag. No longer will residents need to sort recyclables into blue and yellow bags. Those who have blue boxes can continue to use them but there is no need for sorting. An unlimited amount of recycling will be collected from every home, every two weeks.
Residents in Penticton and Oliver will see recycling and yard waste collected on alternating weeks. Osoyoos has already started the alternating week collections.
Penticton Oliver and Osoyoos residents are also asked not to place yard waste in clear plastic bags because they are not compostable. Instead, residents can use kraft paper yard waste bags or reusable containers that are clearly marked ‘yard waste’. Large stickers marked ‘yard waste’ are being sent to homes and residents can pick up extras from their local municipal office.
BFI Canada Facility manager Roy Aitken recommends residents choose their reusable yard waste container carefully to allow for easy collection with little mess.
“When you purchase a yard waste container, look for no ridges on the inside. Yard waste gets stuck on the ridges making a mess and leaving yard waste inside your can,” said Aitken.
Some rural RDOS areas will change weekly collection days starting in July. In Naramata and Falconridge, the collection day has moved from Tuesday to Monday. This was to allow residents, especially weekend visitors, to better comply with new bear attractant rules. Kaleden and Heritage Hills will switch to Wednesday collection to allow residents to receive collection on the same day as other homes in Okanagan Falls and Skaha Estates.
All Electoral Area B residents in Cawston and Nighthawk Pass will switch to garbage collection on Fridays as will Green Mountain Road and the Carmi area. Carmi residents have a special drop-off service that is currently under review and they will be contacted directly on any proposed changes to their program.
Discontinuation of all glass collection is one of the major changes starting in July. The regional district was one of the last places in B.C. still to collect glass at the curb.
“Glass easily breaks causing splinters that can contaminate other recyclables and hurt workers. There are no more glass recyclers in the interior of B.C. making it expensive to ship. As well, we often find some people don’t clean their glass jars, making it much more difficult to recycle,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton said returnable glass containers like beer bottles are fully recycled when brought to the bottle depot. The bottles are hand sorted to be free from contaminates, and beverage containers, which often get returned for deposit, end up being made into wine bottles which are often used by local wineries.
Container glass collected at landfills and participating bottle depots will be crushed and reused locally as road base and landfill cover.
Residents will have to bring container glass to landfills, free of cost, or to the T-2 Market in Oliver. J&C Bottle Depot in Penticton will accept glass for free starting on July 1 and the Osoyoos Bottle Depot already accepts it. Window, mirror, automotive or other non-container glass will not be accepted at these depots.
For residents in Penticton, alternating weeks for blue bag recycling and yard waste collection starts on July 4. The week of July 4 to 8 will be a yard waste collection week, so no recycling will be collected. The week of July 11 to 15 will be a blue bag collection week.