This is the second in a series of columns describing changes coming to North Island residents with the implementation of the MMBC recycling system, which begins May 19.
In last week’s North Island Gazette, I wrote about upcoming changes to recycling and garbage collection on the North Island. Front and centre in the article was the start of curbside collection of recyclable materials in Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Coal Harbour. These communities will be joining Alert Bay, which has had this service for a few years already.
While the ability to put out your recyclables out at the curb side will make the process easier, it is critical that North Islanders understand what they can place at the curb in relation to the new service.
The items that often take up the most space in your garbage bin are plastic packaging. These range from plastic jugs containing detergent to clamshells holding baked goods to those plastic flower pots you get when you buy a plant at the nursery. Usually you can find hidden at the base of the container a number from 1 to 7 with a triangle surrounding it. Given the diversity of these types of materials, the public can get very confused — including me.
For the past month the RDMW Curbside Recycling Guide, which has been printed in some community newsletters, indicates Type 6 plastic (proper name Polystyrene) is not permitted curbside recycling. The guide was created by me and I was wrong. What North Islanders need to know is that there are two forms of Polystyrene — one that can go in curbside recycling and one that can’t:
• Rigid polystyrene (aka Type 6 Plastic) — clamshell, tubs, cups and plant pots can go in the curbside recycling.
• Foam polystyrene — foam egg cartons, meat trays, hot drink cups and packing material need to be taken to a recycling depot and cannot be put out for curbside collection.
The key idea to keep in mind is it’s the retailers and manufacturers who cover the cost of the new curbside recycling program and the program’s purpose is to divert their packaging from the landfill. Other plastic materials you might wish to recycle but are not packaging must be brought to an eco-depot where they can be sent to the landfill for eventual processing.
Included among the plastic items that should not go into the curbside recycling bin are containers with deposits. These can be taken to any outlet that will reimburse you or wait until a volunteer fund raising event occurs like the hockey or Girl Guide bottle drives.
By the time you read this in the North Island Gazette, I will have a guide with pictures on the Regional District’s web site (www.rdmw.bc.ca) to give everyone proper direction. If you still have questions, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.
Next week’s article: “New Materials that North Islanders Will Soon be Able to Recycle”.
Patrick Donaghy is Operations Manager for the Regional District of Mount Waddington. firstname.lastname@example.org.