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New West to launch curbside glass recycling program

Program aims to enhances recycling offerings, reduce contamination of recyclables
In a six to one vote, the City of New Westminster has approved a segregated glass recycling program starting in 2022.

Curbside collection of glass is coming to New West in 2022.

On Monday, council directed staff to implement a segregated glass collection program for single-family and multi-family residences starting in 2022. The city will also implement an education and enforcement campaign to support the glass collection program and to reduce contamination in all recycling streams.

Mayor Jonathan Cote said construction of a new aquatic and community centre resulted in the relocation of the city’s recycling depot to a joint facility with Metro Vancouver. Through that process, he said the city heard from a lot of residents about the need for recycling to be accessible.

“The reality is, the more convenient you can make recycling possible, the more successful it will be,” he said. “I think for many folks, particularly glass is a bit of a challenge.”

Kristian Davis, superintendent of the city’s solid waste and recycling branch, said curbside glass collection services will result in an added cost of $12 annually for single-family household and an additional $10 for multi-family households.

Mixed paper and mixed containers are currently collected through recycling programs. Glass packaging, such as jam, sauce and pickle jars, is not collected, but sometimes makes its way into recycling bins.

In July, council directed staff to develop a residential segregated glass collection program for to council’s consideration. The purpose of the segregated glass collection program is to enhance current curbside and multi-family recycling collection services and to reduce contamination among recyclables.

A July report to council stated that Recycle BC audits showed an “increasing trend of high contamination” of the city’s curbside collection program, including a 14.1% contamination rate in the fourth quarter of 2020.

“This is significantly above the maximum contamination threshold of 3% under the agreement with Recycle BC, and could lead to substantial financial penalties to the city,” said the report. “At this time, the city is required to develop and submit a formal contamination remediation plan (CRP) for the curbside collection by July 30, 2021, outlining actions, procedures and timelines to reduce contamination in compliance with program requirements.”

Under the new glass recycling program supported by council, city crews will provide the service using city equipment. (Council voted six to one in favour of the program, with only Coun. Patrick Johnstone opposing the plan.)

How much will it cost?

According to Davis, the Year 1 net capital cost to the city is about $425,000.

The staff report said the capital expenses to be included in the solid waste utility’s 2022 budget include $275,000 for vehicles and $100,000 for grey box containers (with an additional $10,000 per year required to maintain a stock of collection containers.) The city anticipates the recycling service would have annual expense of about $220,000 for labour, fuel, promotion, education and enforcement costs.

The operating budget required for this program includes two full-time equivalent staff positions to perform the service, as well as some additional auxiliary staff time to support the operation. Other operating costs include the use of a city-owned site as a temporary dump site for the glass and costs related to preparing and hauling the glass to Abbotsford.

In order to get the program up and running in 2022, the city will buy or rent a pre-owned and/or modified vehicle. This vehicle would later be retired or put on standby as a backup vehicle when a purpose-built collection vehicle is delivered, something that’s anticipated to happen in 2023.

“No doubt this service will add an extra cost, but I think in my opinion it’s actually a pretty reasonable cost,” Cote said. “I think most people, whether you live in a multi-family unit or you live in a single-family home, will actually get good value for the service, and the fact that there will be collection at the curbside for the glass materials.”

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus

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