The Do Your Part recycling depot in Thornhill will become busier owing to new restrictions on what can be taken to local dumps.

Paper, cardboard banned from northwestern B.C. landfills

The move in Terrace and Thornhill is one part of wholesale shift in how waste is being managed

The Terrace and Thornhill landfills are no longer accepting paper and cardboard as of last Thursday, Sept. 1, and businesses are being directed to take it to the Do Your Part Recycling depot in Thornhill.

“It’s all part of the larger shift in solid waste management,” explained Murray Daly from the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine. “It all ties together with the new landfill opening at Forceman Ridge… and the Thornhill transition to a transfer station.”

Those new facilities are in construction to be completed this month and should be fully operational by Nov. 1, at which point the Terrace and Thornhill landfills will no longer be open.

Daly said the aim of directing paper and cardboard to the recycling depot is to preserve space in the new landfill.

“The more products you can keep out of the landfill, the longer your landfill is going to last. We would like to get a 100-year life span out of this landfill,” Daly said.

The new landfill and transfer station will have scales so that they know what materials are coming in and how much.

Daly said many of the larger retail, furniture and grocery stores that deal with large amounts of cardboard, already deal with cardboard on their own.

Some use cardboard dumpsters and others do backhaul, where they bring products on their trucks and then fill the emptied trucks with cardboard to be hauled back to a major centre, he said.

But for those who chose to dump it in the landfill, Daly said there was no restriction in place before now. But now, as of last Thursday, companies who previously brought cardboard to the landfill will need to either arrange for a cardboard/paper dumpster or will have to bring it to the Do Your Part depot. There they will weigh the amount of paper and cardboard, called fibre, and be charged a fee based on the weight — $99 per tonne.

As for the depot, they aren’t sure how much more volume to expect, said Lynn Mckeen from Do Your Part Recycling.

“It’s pretty sketchy right now because it is new and it is happening fast,” she said of their plans. “Until things start to happen, we just don’t know.”

Typically the depot ships 1-2 truck loads of recycling to the Lower Mainland or Washington, but last week they shipped three loads in order to make space for potentially large volumes of fibre.

The depot is the hub for all the recycling, including what is collected in the curbside blue bins, from the City of Terrace and the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine. The loads that they ship out usually weigh close to 20 tonnes, and include several large bags of glass and bales of fibre, but mostly bales of the curbside recycling.

“We don’t do any of the actual recycling here. We just bale and ship it,” Mckeen said, explaining how the recycling is compacted and bound into what they call bales.

Mckeen said they do have some commercial customers, but most of what they process comes from the city and the regional district. Mckeen said they plan to sit down at the end of this week and “work out all the bugs.”

“We might be getting to the point where anybody who is commercial is going to have to come in on an appointment basis,” she said.

Coming up next, people in Terrace and the regional district will be required to put organics in a separate waste bin, which be a third stream alongside the blue and black curbside waste bins. The plan is for that to start mid-November,” Daly said.