Businesses and institutions will need to shoulder recycling costs for their cardboard as of July 1, when non-residential corrugated cardboard will be banned from Vanderhoof’s transfer station, the regional district says.
On Apr. 19, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako presented the incoming regional district-wide commercial cardboard ban to nearly 40 business owners and residents at the Nechako Senior Friendship Centre.
The new rule spurs from the Ministry of Environment’s changing rules on B.C.’s landfills to lower costs and pollution, said RDBN’s Janine Dougall.
A robust recycling market — where the collected material is reused — already exists for cardboard, Dougall added. According to an audit performed in 2008 on the regional district’s waste, corrugated cardboard makes up 10 per cent of the region’s landfills. In Burns Lake, 70 to 80 per cent of contributed cardboard came from institutions, businesses, and industries, she said.
Laminated or waxed cardboard, such as cereal boxes, and contaminated material — stained by food or grease — would still be accepted at the transfer station.
Solutions discussed for lowering the new cost included setting a designated location in town for cardboard to be deposited — rather than private bins — and then picked up by a regional waste management business.
A resident suggested that reusable boxes can be utilized to decrease cardboard usage in general.
Joe Von Doellen, president of the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce, said it’s an overdue discussion — the chamber first heard of the ban a year ago, he said — and enforcement in the beginning may be an issue, as businesses will end up using bins reserved for residents.
For Jacquie McLeod from Shaper Sheet Metal Ltd., the ban is concerning, as they would have to pass the recycling cost to customers.
Accompanying cardboard boxes that her business reused to hold waste material would need to be replaced by plastic bags, McLeod explained.
“We compete against businesses in Prince George,” she said. “It’s another cost to take away from the competitive advantage.”
And for residences?
Drop-off bins located by Vanderhoof and Districts Co-op for residential cardboard will be moved to a new location, to be determined, when the cardboard ban takes effect in July.
Recycling for all materials was also discussed at the event — one resident said that he travelled 16 kilometres to various locations around Vanderhoof to deposit all recyclables.
Vanderhoof’s CAO Tom Clement states that a one-stop recycling hub, potentially at the transfer station, is in the works, with a targeted opening date in 2017.
Recycling centres are already in place for some communities in the regional district, such as Burns Lake and Fort St. James, but their operator — Multi-Material BC — declined a proposal submitted by Vanderhoof, Mayor Gerry Thiessen said.
“We’re coming up with a Vanderhoof solution,” Thiessen said. “The regional district is too sparsely populated to have a one-size-fits-all solution.”