On Aug. 1 at the District of Houston council chambers, Earnie Harding and Mike Behrs presented to council on behalf of the Smithers & Area Recycling Society (SARS) their proposal to have the District of Houston investigate the possibility of applying to Recycling BC and Printed Paper and Packaging for a contract to remove single stream recyclables from the waste stream, which would go to Residential Curbside Recycling in Smithers, and reduce the volume of household materials that enter the landfills, as well as provide revenue back into the District of Houston.
The Houston Bottle Depot and Recycling (HBDR) currently processes recyclable bottles and has a 30-yard bin to collect cardboard, and another 30-yard bin to collect hard plastics and mixed paper. This facility also collects batteries, electronics, small appliances, power tools, light fixtures, light bulbs and paint.
According to Harding, the HBDR does not process film, glass, styrofoam, and many other recyclables such as tin, and aluminum foil.
“The Houston Bottle Depot might lose a little bit, but when you look at it there is about 250 tonnes of recyclables that need and could be processed from the landfill, and HBDR is only getting about 40 tonnes of that,” said Harding.
The single stream curbside collection service program allows for the District to get paid to do part of the recycling processing themselves by sending recyclable materials to the Residential Curbside Recycling in Smithers.
According to Harding and Behr, the District of Houston would qualify under the Recycle BC collection qualification standards. The requirement for municipalities without a processing facility is that the unloading of collection vehicles has to be at a location within 60 kilometres.
“The distance from the District of Houston to the Smithers processing facility is 57 kilometers,” said Harding.
The pick up and delivery service of recyclables would involve the transportation to a processing facility by the District of Houston, which has a waste disposal truck with an automatic lift system to collect recycle bins.
Harding added that the single stream curbside collection service could require the purchase and distribution of recycling collections bins at a cost of $100 per household. He said this could be supplied by the District or households could purchase the same bins or use clear bags for recyclables.
The benefit to SARS would be that they receive $160 per tonne for packaging, storage, and loading of trucks for delivery to processing facilities, which they are paid to do from Green by Nature.
“It would reduce the number of trips to the Knockholt landfill site [in Houston] because all the recyclables will be delivered to Smithers for storage, processing and shipping, and extend the life of the landfill site by reducing the amount of recyclables being landfilled at Knockholt, which would also reduce the taxpayer’s cost to the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako,” said Harding.
This single stream curbside service program would have expenditures such as transportation of recyclables to the processing facility in Smithers at a cost to the District of Houston of $12,200 per year.
“This is based on five loads being shipped to Smithers every other week at a cost of $1 per kilometer,” said Harding.
In addition to reducing taxes residents have to pay to the RDBN solid waste management function, Harding said this would also help generate annual revenue to the District of Houston.
The Smithers & Area Recycling Society calculated that on an annual basis, approximately $36,548 of net revenue would go to the District of Houston. This sum includes factoring in the cost of transporation of recyclables to Smithers at $12,200 per year as well as advertising costs.
“Are staff wages to drive the truck to Smithers factored into this cost of $12,200?” asked councillor Jonathan Van Barneveld.
“No. What we did was factor in $1 per kilometer,” said Harding.
If the District of Houston applied to remove single stream recyclables from the waste system, Brian Edmison, accountant of Chartered Professional Accounting firm of Edmison Mehr, determined that there would also be a savings of $155 per tonne for all recycled material removed from the waste system.
“Taxpayers are spending this money to have this recycling service done, but we don’t have too,” said Harding. “There are programs out there like the single stream curbside contract that pay back into the District to have this recycling service done.”
Houston council thanked Harding and Berhrs for their presentation.
“We spend a lot of time at the RDBN talking garbage,” said Mayor Shane Brienen. “We do talk a lot about the incredible costs it requires to operate our landfills and what the next one could potentially cost us environmentally.”
“We cannot afford to not recycle,” said Harding. “I hope that we can work together on this, otherwise we are throwing money away.”