When the new curbside recycling program comes to life in Terrace May 19, the service will not be offered in Thornhill or to businesses.
This has caused some to call for a broader system that includes not only Thornhill but all of greater Terrace as well as policies that encourage commercial recycling.
Multi-Material BC (MMBC) is the organization overseeing a province-wide curbside collection program for participating municipalities to collect paper, cardboard and other packaging of consumer projects in a system paid for entirely by the businesses over a certain size that produce the packaged products.
According to Regional District of Kitimat Stikine (RDKS) director manager Roger Tooms, Thornhill didn’t qualify for an MMBC incentive because it doesn’t have curbside garbage collection like is offered in the City of Terrace.
But now the RDKS has put out a request for proposals for curbside garbage collection and if it succeeds in finding a contractor then Tooms wants MMBC to consider contributing to a recycling program for the greater Terrace area.
“The curbside collection of refuse and recycling for the Terrace area—for Thornhill, North Terrace, Lakelese Lake, Jackpine Flats, Gossen Creek all the way up to Usk and New and Old Remo—all of these we are considering for a curbside refuse collection program,” said Tooms.
“In a parallel process we are asking for a request for quotes to provide a collection of the MMBC materials. We’re looking for quotes to pick up the MMBC material from the curb and trip it off somewhere so we can consider this additional service,” he added.
That way the RDKS could qualify for an incentive such as Terrace receives, which is approximately $134,000 per year based on population.
“We made it clear through the board that we intend on initiating a curbside collection program for the (greater) Terrace area and we want to be collecting the MMBC product and we want to be able to be compensated and we want to drop that product off at the processing facility that is going to serve the Terrace area,” said Tooms, noting there is no set timeline for the projects.
Currently material is slated to be processed through the Do Your Part facility owned by Casey Lewis which is being retrofitted to accommodate the curbside material dropped off by city trucks once the Terrace MMBC program rolls this spring.
Another option would be a separate drop-off depot of some sort, said Tooms, but so far that hasn’t been a feasible option within the MMBC system.
The MMBC program also does not pay for commercial recycling, and local government and businesspeople like RDKS environmental services coordinator Margaret Kujat and Rob Geier, owner of Geier Waste Services have pointed out that to really cut down on material entering landfills that commercial recycling would be a necessity.
Terrace sustainability coordinator Tara Irwin agrees with this principle but said it’s not within the mandate of the city to provide commercial recycling.
“I agree that diverting commercial material is a very important piece of the overall diversion puzzle, we would be challenged to ‘institute’ commercial recycling collection, as there has not been a feasible opportunity for diversion for many of the major commercial producers, and it is not within our municipal function to set up a commercial recycling facility,” Irwin said in an email.
Right now businesses can have their recycling picked up by Do Your Part, or use Waste Management Services, both private operations.
Irwin said that what the city can do to incentivize recycling for commercial enterprise is to ban certain materials from the landfill, which it has already done with rubber tires.
She said they might ban cardboard as well.
“As more recycling options become available for the commercial sector, we will continue to look at the possibility of a cardboard ban at the City of Terrace landfill,” said Irwin.
The MMBC program is being opposed by a number of business groups, including the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association, of which The Terrace Standard is a member.