‘There is no market for it,’ Kelowna apartment recycling takes a hit

Waste Connection of Canada’s is no longer picking up certain materials in the Central Okanagan

Plastics, aluminium, newspaper, and other items that were once recyclable will no longer be picked up from apartment complexes and some businesses in the Central Okanagan.

Starting Jan. 1, Waste Connections of Canada stopped picking up materials besides cardboard, No. 2 plastic and clean paper because there’s no market for recyclables, said Geoff Goodman, district sales manager.

The waste management company picks up the recycling and distributes it to brokers, but the brokers aren’t accepting the material, he said.

“The recycling communities that take that material for other things aren’t using it, they’re either landfilling or just don’t want it so until that changes there is no market for it,” Goodman said.

“We’re hoping newsprint will come back, we’re doing it in small drips and drabs, pretty much multifamily (homes), strata apartments… it’s still one of those commodities that’s very slow to move, so we’re bailing it and storing it and being told that we may or may not be able to move it.”

“It’s one of those things that really depends on the market, the only thing that’s really moving, and it’s barely moving, is cardboard,” Goodman said.

Last month Waste Connections of Canada was paid about $90 per tonne for cardboard, this month it’s $0, which is costing the company as they still have to process the material, Goodman said.

“The good thing is with that one is that maybe it’s going to come back, so you stockpile it to sell it, things like plastic we haven’t seen it move very much since 2017.”

He said previously China was accepting Canada’s plastic recycling which the country has since stopped.

READ MORE: Canada still believes in global recycling despite rotting garbage sent to Manila

“We hate doing it… but if you can’t do anything with it, there’s no point in sending it elsewhere for them to deal with, so sending it to another country for them to landfill is what really was happening,” Goodman said.

“It’s broken, so they’ve shut the door and said they’re taking what they can use and not our crap,” he said. “As consumers, we need to change what we consume and how we’re consuming it.”

Jodi Foster, manager of corporate communications with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan said all curbside recyclables are still being picked up from blue bins outside of single-family homes.

Materials including plastics, flexible plastics, glass, and newspaper, among other items can also be brought to recycling depots as part of the provincial Recycle BC program.

READ MORE: Recycle your potato chip and plastic bags in Kelowna

She said there has been no indication that recyclables will no longer be accepted from curbside locations and those living in apartments can bring recycling to recycling depots.

For more information on recycling at the depot locations, visit https://www.regionaldistrict.com/your-services/waste-reduction-office/recycling.aspx.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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