The Regional District of East Kootenay will implement changes to the way the region recycles container glass as of January 2021.

The RDEK said the glass recycling market has undergone significant changes over the last three years and it has struggled to find markets for the glass it collects through its yellow in system.

“While we have been using it at our landfill sites for secondary purposes such as road base material hoping new markets will open up, it is clear that the way glass is recycled in BC has changed,” said Kevin Paterson, RDEK Environmental Services Manager. “The only viable option is the Provincially regulated Recycle BC program, which we can’t access through the Yellow Bin Program. As a result, the decision has been made by the Board to move all glass recycling to that system. Recycle BC has secured markets that we cannot access and it is no longer viable from a cost perspective for us to continue collecting glass in the yellow bins.”

The RDEK noted that the change will only impact glass recycling, the yellow bins for other recyclables will remain.

Glass can still be taken to any Recycle BC Depot in the region and currently, glass collected through these depots is shipped to the west coast where it is or crushed and used in sandblasting or turned into new glass containers.

In the new year, the RDEK said all of its yellow glass collection bins will be removed, and all glass containers must be taken to a designated Recycle BC Depot.

“The cost of the yellow bin glass collection is significant. So, not only do we no longer have access to markets to recycle glass, we are paying thousands of dollars to manage a material that can’t be recycled or practically repurposed,” explains Paterson. “Further, the RDEK is paid per tonne for glass collected through the Recycle BC system, so the cost difference between what we are currently paying and what we will be saving is huge. And, equally important is providing residents who want to recycle their glass a stable and accessible way to do that, which this Recycle BC option provides.

Through the yellow bin system, the RDEK pays $321.75 per tonne to manage glass, while it is paid $90 per tonne through the Recycle BC Depots, resulting in $411.75 in savings per tonne.

Across the region, just over 101 tonnes of glass has been collected in the yellow bins and 109 tonnes in various Recycle BC depots.

The yellow glass bins are slated for removal during the first week of January, and the RDEK said it will undergo a public education campaign over the coming weeks.