Terrace recycling to go private

But for Terrace taxpayers and local recyclers, the service is offered free of charge.

THE CITY of Terrace is closing its drop-off recycling depot beside the George Little House in favour of one to be run by the Waste Management firm.

The new depot will be located at the Waste Management location on the north side of Keith Ave. between the building containing the St. John Ambulance and Medichair outlets and Superior Propane.

The new location will come at no cost to either the city or Terrace and area residents, a key consideration in the city decision to close down its pilot depot which has been open since last November.

The city does not have a contract with Waste Management, but as the company is going to offer the service privately, there’ll be a savings estimated at $50,000 this year.

“They’re doing this at no cost so it’s pretty unique,” said city official Tara Irwin of the Waste Management offer. “We have decided not to duplicate the service.”

The city depot had been regarded as a pilot project intended to test the idea of having residents take their own recyclables to a centralized drop off location.

“Residents can drive up and there will be bins,” said Irwin of the Waste Management plan. “For the first little while at least it will be open 24 hours.”

The city location is to close April 30. Waste Management is currently paving the site where bins will go, and will use a bailer for compacting materials.

The depot will accept the same materials the city does now – cardboard, plastic, paper and metals.

But it won’t be taking in compost, something the city depot does now.

The city’s self-serve depot is part of its program, being worked on in conjunction with the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District,  to keep garbage from being taken to either the city or regional district dumps.

Opened as a pilot project last November, the city hired local recycling company Do Your Part to process material dropped off and Geier Waste to take the material to Do Your Part. Local metal recycler Bold Salvage placed a bin at the site for metal and the city placed its own bin for compostable material.

The original plan was to make one trip to Do Your Part each week but that was quickly changed to three times a week because of the depot’s popularity. Even with three weekly pickups, the large bin for paper, cardboard and plastics would overflow and people would simply leave their material at the location.

An initial budget of $15,000, that was supposed to last for six months, was soon spent and the city added $20,000 at the start of this year.  That $20,000 comes from a figure of $70,000 the city was going to set aside to finance a permanent depot. But when Waste Management stepped in, the remaining $50,000 is now available for other uses, said Irwin.

Irwin said because the depot will be privately run, the city has no control over how long the service will be offered.

“We will have to explore options if they decide not to continue at some point,” she said.

But Irwin did add that new regulations are coming into force by 2014 which will change the way recycling is done by placing more onus on the producers of products to be responsible for packaging. As it is, people who buy electronic items, for example, are now being taxed to finance a system of recycling the item.

Although the Waste Management service won’t take compostable material, Irwin said the city offers financial incentives for people to buy backyard bins.

And residents can mix in fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells and coffee and tea grinds in with yard waste that is then picked up by the city’s garbage collectors.