For the next five years, the RDEK’s Yellow Bin Recycling Program will continue to operate in the region, although changes will be made as Recycle BC Depots continue to be introduced across the East Kootenay.
Generally signed in five-year agreements, the RDEK has had the Yellow Bin Recycling Program for the past 20 years, renewing its contract with Green For Life.
“There are over 700 yellow bins located throughout the region and all of the materials collected in the yellow bins are sorted in Cranbrook and sold to market,” said Kevin Paterson, RDEK Environmental Services Manager.
Patterson said that by renewing the yellow bin contract, they can keep the current recycling options open for the public, businesses, and rural communities who have come to utilize the yellow bins, although service expansion is on the horizon.
“Throughout our recent Solid Waste Management Plan Review, we heard strong support for expanded recycling options at the most affordable cost,” noted Patterson. “We are now working hard to create those expanded opportunities through the establishment of dedicated Recycle BC Depots.”
Patterson explained that the Yellow Bin Program would be totally separate from the new Recycle BC Depots, which would only accept residentially generated materials. The Recycle BC Depots would accept all of the same materials as well as plastic containers, unmarked plastics packaging, styrofoam, soup tetrapaks, and foil roasters, including 76 additional products not accepted in the yellow bins.
Currently, the yellow bin and curbside recycling programs in Invermere and Fernie only accept paper, cardboard, tin/aluminum cans, grocery/shopping bags and numbered household plastics one to six, although styrofoam isn’t accepted.
The key difference between the two is that the Yellow Bin Program is funded through RDEK taxes and requires the RDEK to pay per tonne recycled, while the RDEK would be paid per tonne for what is recycled at the Recycle BC Depots.
Recycle BC Depots are already open at the Kimberley Transfer Station and Columbia Valley Landfill, while the RDEK plans to open a new depot at the Cranbrook Transfer Station in December and new depots at the Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford Transfer Stations in early 2020.
Patterson said the yellow bins will remain at their current locations, although some changes will be made in the future with further implementation of the Recycle BC Depots.