Recycling revamp considered

Greater Vernon could have some potentially significant recycling changes in the bag.

Greater Vernon could have some potentially significant recycling changes in the bag.

A new blue bag system could be picked up by the Regional District of North Okanagan with Multi-Material BC.

The plan, which includes a financial incentive for the regional district, may in turn result in a reduction for residents in their utility invoicing for recycling.

Residents currently pay $18/annually for blue bag recycling, but if a contract with MMBC is approved RDNO would receive $34 per household/annually.

“In May 2014 MMBC will start to collect a portion of every packaging,” said Nicole Kohnert, regional engineering services manager.

Those funds, paid through customer purchases, would then be paid to the district.

If RDNO can accept the MMBC terms and can offer the blue bag service for less than $34, the approximately 29,3000 households will not be billed for the bi-weekly service.

RDNO has until Monday to accept or decline the offer.

Through the MMBC contract, the regional district would be obligated to provide blue bags to customers, which is why a cart system is also being considered.

“One of the complicating factors is do we want to still use the bags?” said Kohnert.

A cart system (as is currently used in the Central Okanagan Regional District) for collection would use mechanized trucks with electronic arms to grab and dump bins.

“The purchase of the bins is a big cost,” said Coldstream director Doug Dirk.

Although the bins are quite large, curbside collection could also be limited.

But the use of bins, which could also expand to yard waste collection, isn’t going over well with some regional politicians.

“How are you going to improve employment opportunities if you mechanize everything?” said Coldstream Coun. Gyula Kiss.

Coun. Pat Cochrane added: “Sounds like a step backwards.”

Drop centres could also see some changes, with additional containers and the requirement of customers to presort paper/cardboard, plastic containers, Styrofoam, plastic film and glass.

The current collection contract expires May 2014 and MMBC proposes a five-year contract (with two one-year extensions). Tendering of collection would take place by late October, if not sooner.

The total annual incentive offered for the collection program, and that would be paid to the RDNO by MMBC, is estimated to be $1 million.

The services currently cost the district and residents $776,475.

The Vernon and District Association for Community Living currently does glass collection and delivery and Styrofoam collection.

“Venture Training could still be involved,” said Dirk.


Vernon Morning Star