If you’ve been stockpiling recyclables since the local recycling depot closed, you’ll have a chance to get rid of some of those items next weekend.
The City of New Westminster is holding a trial pop-up recycling event on Saturday, May 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the engineering operations works yard at 901 First St. During the drive-through event, residents will be able to drop off glass and soft plastics (plastic film and bags.)
“One-way access will be available at the north parking lot entrance off First Street,” said a city notice about the event. “Items must be pre-sorted prior to arriving. Please remain in your car until an attendant directs you to proceed.”
Kristian Davis, the city’s supervisor of solid waste and recycling, said the items being collected at the trial pop-up recycling event are products not accepted in curbside or multifamily collection programs and must be taken to an appropriate recycling depot to be recycled.
“Residents will be asked to queue from the north entrance of the parking lot off First Street where staff will direct them to one of four drop-off stations when they become available,” he said in an email to the Record. “At each drop-off station, there will be marked containers for both soft plastics and glass. This way, up to four at a time can off-load their recyclables before leaving the parking lot through the south exit.”
Residents arriving on foot or in other modes of transportation will be asked to queue, said Davis, while maintaining physical distance in a segregated lane next vehicle traffic.
Last fall, the city announced it would be closing the New Westminster Recycling Depot because it didn’t fit into the design for the new aquatic centre and community centre that’s being built to replace Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre. The city decided to partner with Metro Vancouver on the new Coquitlam transfer station at 995 United Blvd., which will open in early 2021.
On Monday, council received a staff report about pop-up recycling events. Some councillors questioned why Styrofoam isn’t being collected at this weekend’s event.
“Because of COVID-19, a lot of people are doing takeout,” noted Coun. Chinu Das. “There is a lot of household Styrofoam piling up in everybody’s houses.”
Based on the success of the May 30 trial event, city staff are proposing to hold monthly pop-up events until the new facility opens.
“Styrofoam will be at the June 20 event that we have planned. However, the Styrofoam that we can collect is only going to be the large white packing Styrofoam without any contaminants,” Davis told council. “The Styrofoam like the takeout food trays and coloured ink-dyed egg cartons or meat trays won’t be accepted at those subsequent events. There’s just too much contamination. They can’t really recycle them appropriately, therefore they won’t be included.”
Davis said the large white pieces of packaging Styrofoam aren’t contaminated and can be stored for a period of time. He said it’s hoped there will be a market for this product down the road.
According to Davis, Recycle BC is currently transitioning its post-collection services to a new contractor and won’t be able to assist with processing the materials collected at the May 30 event, so the costs of hauling and recycling the glass and soft plastics collected will be covered by the city.
“At this May 30 event, the reason why we have limited it to just a few materials is because we are doing this on our own without the assistance of Recycle BC. We hope to work with Recycle BC at future events, or the June event and beyond, hopefully, we will have some support, and that might makes some changes with the materials that we are allowed to collect. We will definitely keep that information updated.”
Local residents who are looking to recycle items not collected curbside or in multifamily collection programs can go to the two Return-in depots in New Westminster: Queensborough Landing (409 Boyne St.) and Sapperton (#21 - 79 Braid St.) Details about items accepted and hours of operation are available at www.return-it.ca.
New West residents can also take items to the Edmonds Return-it depot at 7496 Edmonds St. in Burnaby. They can also go to the existing Coquitlam transfer station (1200 United Blvd.), where they can also take large volumes of yard trimmings at no cost, with proof of residency.
For more information about the pop-up recycling event, call engineering operations at 604-526-4691.