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RDEK voices support for Cranbrook’s new curbside recycling program

After providing start-up costs for the City of Cranbrook to purchase residential recycling carts, the RDEK said they are fully supportive of the implementation of the Recycle BC program.

Earlier this week, the RDEK announced they would provide $691,641 to the City of Cranbrook in order for the community to purchase 6,231 recycling carts. The funding was the first step in Cranbrook getting curbside recycling, eliminating any immediate financial or tax implications.

READ: City of Cranbrook receiving RDEK grant for curbside recycling (July 7, 2020)

Rob Gay spoke to MyEastKootenayNow.com about the RDEK’s decision to approve the grant funding to Cranbrook, citing residents hope to have curbside recycling in the City.

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“Last year we conducted a Solid Waste Management Plan review and part of that review was doing a community survey, asking people’s desires and certainly curbside recycling was very high on the majority of people’s list,” said Gay, RDEK Board Chair. “They wanted to see it and we’re very pleased that we’re able to help Cranbrook move in that direction.”

The Recycle BC program will be fully implemented and operated by the City of Cranbrook. Gay said while negotiations will be held between the City and Recycle BC, there are some base expectations of what the program may look like. Gay told MyEastKootenayNow.com that Recycle BC’s programs generally encompass single-family and multi-family units, which would include duplexes and apartments.

“The difference in them is the amount of money that Recycle BC will pay the community for the different variety of homes. Generally, the single-family homes, it’s about $38 a year, but the City will negotiate with Recycle BC on the multi-family type buildings.”

Gay is one of two local government members on the Recycle BC Industry Advisory Committee, having a deep knowledge of Recycle BC’s practices and programming.

Once Cranbrook has its curbside recycling program in place, the RDEK anticipates about $153,000 in savings every year with the material being diverted away from their yellow bin program. The RDEK pays for every tonne recycled through the yellow bin program. Material recycled through one of the Recycle BC Depots in the region sees the RDEK get paid for each tonne, while Cranbrook would get money from Recycle BC for each tonne recycled with the curbside program.

Gay anticipates the yellow bin program will see a drastic reduction in residential use when curbside recycling is introduced in Cranbrook. However, Gay said Recycle BC just deals with residential recycling not commercial and industrial.

“You’ll still see the yellow bins in the commercial and industrial areas of the City and around the regional district,” noted Gay. “We think probably about half of the bins or maybe up to two-thirds of the bins can be eliminated, so we’ll see how that goes, but certainly that’s where the savings will be.”

The curbside recycling program is anticipated to accept the same material as the yellow bins, excluding organics, and compost.

The City of Cranbrook will use the $691,641 from the RDEK’s Central Solid Waste Service reserve fund over the next five years to purchase the 6,231 recycling carts.

Gay said the money has been slowly stockpiling after the Central Solid Waste Zone was implemented by the RDEK. Central collects solid waste from across the entire region, including the Elk Valley communities, which used to ship their solid waste to Alberta according to Gay. Seeing as Cranbrook is the largest community in the Central zone besides Kimberley and Electoral Areas B, C, and E, Gay said the RDEK approved the funding from the reserve.

“That recycling fund has built over the years and it’s now over $1-million. Cranbrook has asked for about $700,000 of that and the fund continues to grow each year.”

Gay again noted that the curbside program will be fully in the City of Cranbrook’s hands and that the RDEK is simply playing a supplier role by providing the initial grant funding for the carts.

In the coming weeks and months, the City of Cranbrook is anticipated to release further details about the Recycle BC curbside program and exactly how it will be introduced.

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