Abuses cost everyone

PORT HARDY — Thanks to abuse by a few users, Port Hardy’s “free” recycling service is developing a hefty price tag.

  • Feb. 3, 2011 8:00 p.m.
This mess greeted disposal and district staff recently. In this case staff wasted 45 minutes cleaning up the items that included household garbage. The combination of wet and contaminated items could not be recycled.

This mess greeted disposal and district staff recently. In this case staff wasted 45 minutes cleaning up the items that included household garbage. The combination of wet and contaminated items could not be recycled.

PORT HARDY — Thanks to abuse by a few users, Port Hardy’s “free” recycling service is developing a hefty price tag.

Residential garbage, soup cans, pet litter, diapers and fluorescent light tubes are just a few of the contaminates that have been dumped at the municipal recycling depot at the municipal hall, driving up local recycling costs.

“This defeats the purpose of the recycling program,” said Gloria Le Gal, Director of Corporate Services for the District of Port Hardy. “In January alone, we have sent four letters to local residents, encouraging them to properly dispose of their items for recycling.”

The letters were mailed after a pile of cardboard mixed with styrofoam and other household wastes was left on the recycling platform between the bins. Not only were there contaminants in the waste, but the cardboard got wet, which made it unfit for recycling. Disposal and District staff, who spent nearly 45 minutes cleaning up the site, said that none of the recycling bins were full when the dumping occurred.

“Contaminated loads cost at least $200 a ton for any load that contains these items,” said Greg Fox of Fox’s Disposal Services. “And, depending on the level of contamination, the entire load can end up in the landfill.”

Harbour Manager David Pratt says that the town’s recycling depots are not the only venues facing challenges. The harbour’s dumpsters are routinely contaminated with construction debris, cardboard, bags of leaves and other yard wastes. “The same fees for contamination apply when people misuse these containers,” said Pratt.

A comprehensive list on garbage disposal and recycling options can be found on the District of Port Hardy website at www.porthardy.ca under “Community Information,” then choose “Garbage and Recycling.” Residents can also call the District at 250-949-6665, ext. 226, or visit the municipal office if they have questions about recycling depot usage.

“We believe that it is important to be able to offer this valuable service to the community,” concludes Mayor Bev Parnham. “The majority of residents who access this service are very diligent in sorting their recyclables. Unfortunately, the few who do not sort and dispose of recyclables properly are driving the shared costs up for us.”