Residents using the recycling bins at Strathcona Gardens and the Sportsplex will no longer have to worry about sorting their recyclables.
The depots will be transitioning to a ‘single-stream’ system, similar to the city’s curbside recycling program.
Jesse Lee, the Comox Strathcona Waste Management’s manager of operations, said the changes are aimed at helping residents save time.
“We are making it easier to recycle,” Lee said. “Residents will not have to sort their recyclables into separate collection bins. Rather, residents simply have to place recyclables into any one of the bins. Emterra, our contractor, will take care of the sorting at its recycling facility.”
The changes, which include new signs, are slated to take effect today, with the bins being entirely replaced by Friday.
A waste reduction educator is expected to be onsite to answer questions about the new system and assist residents.
The depots are intended to serve those residents who do not have access to curbside recycling pick up but they are heavily used by the community.
Elected government officials see the value in the depots to the community and have saved the depots from the chopping block in recent years.
Vandalism, as well as misuse of the facility, have prompted discussion by the Comox Strathcona Waste Management board around the fate of the depots at both the Sportsplex and Strathcona Gardens.
Both have been on the chopping block on the recommendation of solid waste staff, but have been saved by directors from both the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts that sit on the solid waste board.
Bins at Strathcona Gardens were slated by solid waste staff to be closed effective Nov. 31, 2015 due to the $36,000 that is spent annually to remedy the abuse of the depot.
Lee has said that waste is frequently left at the depots – which are free for drop off – and the recycling bins are often contaminated with un-recyclable items such as hazardous waste, furniture and household refuse.
The board, however, at a September, 2015 meeting overwhelmingly supported keeping both recycling depots open until it can establish a Multi-Material BC (MMBC) depot at the south end of the city.
The Island Return-It Centre on Willow Road and the recycling depot at the Campbell River landfill are MMBC-certified centres which accept materials like styrofoam and glass which cannot be disposed of at the Strathcona Gardens or Sportsplex depots or through the city’s curbside recycling program.
The Comox Strathcona Waste Management service is a function of the Comox Valley Regional District and is responsible for two regional waste management centres that serve the Comox Valley and Campbell River, as well as a range of transfer stations and smaller waste-handling and recycling facilities for the electoral areas of the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts.
The Comox Strathcona Waste Management service manages more than 100,000 tonnes of waste and recycled material and oversees a number of diversion and education programs.