The recycling bins at the Sportsplex were overflowing with recyclables shortly after Christmas.

Christmas cardboard piled high at local recycling depots

Recycling bins at the Sportsplex depot were filled to overflowing in the days immediately following Christmas.

Recycling – mostly in the form of discarded cardboard boxes – spilled out of the bins and onto the pavement as residents flocked to the depot to dispose of their post-Christmas waste.

Jesse Lee, manager of the Comox Strathcona Solid Waste Management service, said while the amount of recycling dropped off at the depots does go up over the holidays, this year was somewhat out of the ordinary.

“The holiday season tends to be very busy at the depots and for some reason this past season was particularly busy,” Lee said.

But despite the heavy usage, Lee said the waste management service, which operates six recycling depots in the Campbell River/Comox Valley area, received no complaints.

“We only received one phone call regarding the conditions of the depots during the holiday season,” Lee said. “The call wasn’t a complaint, the individual was informing us that the bins were reaching capacity.”

At the Sportsplex depot, which Lee said is serviced daily – typically mid-morning – a few odd appliances could be seen in the pile of recycling.

Lee said such items are an “unfortunate reality as the depots are misused on a regular basis with people dropping off garbage.”

In fact, Lee told city council last summer that the waste management service spends about $36,000 annually to remedy abuse of both the Strathcona Gardens and the Sportsplex depots.

He said the depots are often contaminated with un-recyclable items such as hazardous waste, furniture and household refuse.

Lee said while it’s good to see people are thinking about the environment and keeping as much garbage out of the landfill as possible, he encourages people to take advantage of their curb side recycling pick up rather than overflow the depots.

“Residents not residing in multi-family dwellings do have access to unlimited curb side recycling but many chose to use the depots which can lead to capacity issues, particularly during the holiday season,” Lee said.

“We are encouraged that residents are recycling but our preference is that residents utilize their curb side recycling program. The depots are intended for residents that do not have access to the curb side program.”

Prior to the holidays, the City of Campbell River issued a release encouraging residents to use the curb side program and to recycle styrofoam packaging, plastic wrap, and glass at the Island Return It Centre on Willow Street or at the Campbell River Waste Management Centre (the landfill) on Argonaut Road.