FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Officials at the City of Fort St. John say that plastics bags of all kinds will no longer be accepted by the City’s curbside recycling program.
The City’s Integrated Services General Manager Victor Shopland gave a presentation at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, outlining some of the results of a survey that the City held for residents at the Trade Show earlier this Spring to give feedback on the recycling program. Shopland said that overall, residents are making use of the recycling program and are expressing satisfaction with the service.
According to the survey, the vast majority of residents’ curbside garbage and recycling bins are between 75 percent and 100 percent full on collection days, with between 10 and 20 percent of those bins being overfull. Since the program’s inception three years ago, around 2 million kilograms of recycling has been collected in the City.
Shopland said however that the current system of single-stream recycling can result in collection bins being easily contaminated with items that are not accepted. He explained that primarily, the City’s recycling sorting contractor is noticing that contaminated plastic bags and glass items make up the bulk of contamination in the recycling that is collected from residents.
Shopland said that because of more stringent regulations regarding contaminated recycling from China – which was until recently was where the bulk of recycled goods in North America was sent – recycling businesses are also adopting more stringent rules around what is being accepted in recycling. In his report to Council, he said that the Peace River Regional District is no longer accepting plastic films, which includes plastic bags of all types, into single-stream recycling.
Council voted in favour of the City starting a pilot program that will see the Northern Environmental Action Team contracted to place new stickers on residents’ recycling bins with an updated list of allowable items in the recycling. NEAT will also be conducting inspections of residents’ bins to look for heavy contamination of recycling and placing warning stickers on heavily-contaminated bins.
The new rules that exclude plastic bags from curbside recycling will go into effect in July. The City says that plastic bags will still be accepted at local recycling depots, along with glass, and other items that are able to be recycled.