Ernie Harding (Marisca Bakker photo)

Recycle BC ending contract with Bulkley Valley Bottle Depot

Depot will no longer collect certain materials come February

Recycle BC has decided to cancel their current contract with Bulkley Valley Bottle Depot effective February.

Currently the depot has a deal to collect all material that is available in curbside pick-up such as cardboard, mixed paper, aluminum tin cans, plastic containers for those that don’t have their recycling picked up by the Town of Smithers or the Village of Telkwa. They also collect non-deposit glass, plastic film, plastic bags and foam packaging from all residents because those things can’t go into recycling bins.

Allen Langdon, managing director for Recycle BC, wouldn’t give any specific reason to why they are terminating the contract.

“There have been some ongoing historical challenges we’ve had operationally working with the depot and after reflection it was time to take this action,” he said.

“There isn’t a real thing to talk about, we’ve had some challenges in terms of our ability to work with them and it just became clear this was probably the best course of action. Having said that we would still be interested in them collecting materials that can’t be put in the Smithers curbside program which is non deposit glass, plastic film and styrofoam.”

Langdon said they’ve offered them a new contract.

“We had to said to them we would be willing for them to collect non-deposit glass, film and foam. So we’ve left that with them and we haven’t heard back from them. But for collection for the rest of the material we’ve decided to terminate their contract.”

The relationship between Recycle BC and Smithers and Area Recycling Society, who manages all the curbside material that is picked up by the Town of Smithers, will continue.

Recycle BC is the only company in the province that takes that material, leaving uncertainty for those residents in the area who don’t have curbside recycling.

The Smithers and Area Recycling board were shocked when they first received a letter from Recycle BC in August stating their contract would be cancelled without much warning.

“There has not been any historical or existing operational challenges that Recycle BC has ever made the board aware of,” said president of the recycling centre Ernie Harding.

“In that same letter, they offered a new agreement where we would only process plastic bags, foam packaging and glass. This is cookie crumbs off the floor. The present contract brings in approximately $31,000 and the new contact would reduce that number to $2,500 and one employee would have to be laid off.”

The board sent Recycle BC another letter trying to resolve the issue with no success. Harding added that not only would the new contact reduce their income but he feels residents are being unfairly treated.

“[Recycle BC] was a recycling stewardship program initiated for all residential sources throughout B.C. The loss of the local one-stop eco-depot will mean 6,000 local citizens will now have to dispose of their recyclables in local landfills and this means double taxation to all local residents. You pay at the store when you purchase a product and you have to pay again when you dispose of it. To lose this recycling initiative is pure discrimination,” he said.

Harding guesses Recycle BC meets its recycling quota with the lower mainland recycling centres and doesn’t need the hassle of dealing with a northern centre. He is vowing to fight for more recycling in Smithers and will soon be starting a petition that he will present to the provincial government.

The Bulkley Valley Bottle Depot will continue to be a return it depot for deposit cans and bottles.

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