Despite a struggle finding markets, local politicians want to make sure the public continues to recycle.
Regional District of North Okanagan chair Kevin Acton says it’s important for people to maintain what they’ve been doing while officials search for other ways to deal with recyclables.
Acton says it was an issue discussed extensively at Wednesday’s board meeting.
“A lot of directors are frustrated, and we’re really struggling with how to deal with our recycling, but one of the messages I asked the board to put out strong is people still need to recycle while we search for other ways to deal with it. It takes a long time to develop those habits, and markets change. They come and go. And tomorrow, they could change and recycling could be worth double what it is now,” Acton tells Beach Radio News.
He says rumours that items currently being recycled are just going into the dump, are not true, with firms like Recycle BC finding markets for a majority of its products.
“It would cost more for them to landfill that recycling than what they get paid to pick it up. A business isn’t going to pickup recycling just to send it to the landfill and lose money.”
Acton –who is also Lumby’s mayor — says RDNO is looking for a new contractor to handle its recycling at its landfills, putting out a request for proposals.
“It has some pretty stringent rules in it, that say only a small percentage of it will be able to go in the landfills.”
Acton says the board is also considering a bylaw to ban single use plastics such as shopping bags, straws and plastic cups.
“Which seems to have very good support, so probably in late February, we’ll be having discussions on that, and if it rolls out, we’ll probably see that happen in the next year, or year and a half.”
Acton says RDNO staff will be looking at other communities that are already doing that like Victoria and Salmon Arm.
He says there also needs to be changes by producers to reduce the plastic coming to the market.
“If there was a tariff on packaging coming into the country, or responsibility put back on the producers, there may be some adjustments in how things are packaged or put on the shelves.”
Acton says some packages are currently sold in two layers of plastic and the box is ten times the size of the product, to take up shelf space.
“If that comes at a premium, maybe there would be some consumer push back, and some of the packaging could be changed,” adds Acton.