Recycling grows up and earns its own cash

RDEK walks through the changes in the recycle program at the Windermere landfill

A lot of things change in the span of 20 years, said Loree Duczek, the communications manager for the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), adding that it’s time to let the RDEK’s recycling options grow up, take on some new responsibilities and start earning some money of their own.

The RDEK’s recycling offerings have gone 20 years with very few changes, but after two decades costing taxpayers a regular allowance, recycling is ready for an overhaul.

“Right now with the yellow bin recycling program, we pay for every tonne of recyclables that go into those yellow bins. It costs us to process them and to get them to market,” she said.

While the yellow bins will remain unchanged, Ms. Duczek encourages everyone to switch to the new Recycle BC Depot at the Columbia Valley Landfill on Windermere Loop Road, where many additional materials will be accepted and where RDEK will earn cash when residents recycle.

“We get paid for every tonne of recyclables that we collect,” she said. “We’re averaging right now between $80 and $120 per tonne for every tonne of recycling we collect at the depots versus paying for every tonne.”

These payments for the Recycle BC Depot are made possible because manufacturers “are legislated and mandated to take those materials back and see them to be recycled and managed through the end of the lifecycle,” she said. “Rather than you and I paying at the till every time we come up with a package or a piece of paper or a newspaper or a magazine – because that would get ridiculous – they actually have charged it on the front end to the producers and manufacturers.”

Accepted recyclables at the Recycle BC Depot include: everything that can be recycled through the yellow bins, as well as Styrofoam, most packaging plastics, hairspray cans, chip bags and tubes, chocolate-bar wrappers, bubble wrap, padded envelopes, garden pots, milk cartons, cookie tins, most plastic bags (including Ziplocs and pet food bags), paper cups, coffee pods and loads more.

“There are over 76 new things that can be recycled,” Ms. Duczek said. “The more we put into those Recycle BC depots, the more we will get compensated and the less we will have to pay through the yellow bins through the tax base. So do your best to save your stuff and get it to our Recycle BC depots.”

Ms. Duczek has heard from some people who find the new Recycle BC Depot too complicated since the recyclables need to be sorted.

“I promise you that with a few simple adjustments, this new system is really easy,” she said. “Stick with me and I promise you that this new system will be good for all of us because then we’ll be saving.”

To see the list of recyclables accepted at the new depot, visit: and click on the link for the brochure.

Windermere water upgrade

Also at the Area F town hall meeting on Tuesday, July 2nd, residents heard from Brian Funke, engineering services manager, who said most of the Windermere watermain construction is complete with some work left to go to restore driveways and fences in the construction area.

The connection between Windermere and the east side is now scheduled for late spring – rather than this fall – as RDEK is reconsidering the best way to proceed with the work, he said.

Wildfire risks

With the wildfires that have ravaged British Columbia in the past couple of years, Terry Balan, the protective services supervisor for Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) said we’ve been “super lucky” that the fires haven’t roared closer to home.

“It’s my opinion that there isn’t a community in our regional district that isn’t at risk to wildfire,” he said.

Increased development in rural/urban boundary areas where homes border forests and other wild areas have long been a concern, but homes inside a community aren’t safe either since embers can blow right into town, he said.

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