Finding an end market for recycling is getting more and more difficult. For Recycle BC, however, finding those end markets is possible thanks to a relatively low contamination rate when compared to other areas of Canada.
How does contamination happen? Contamination comes from incorrect items in the bin, items tied in plastic bags and items containing residual food or grease.
While all collectors aim to meet the maximum 3 per cent contamination rate as part of their agreements with Recycle BC, Port Alberni’s curbside collection has one of the lowest contamination rates in BC!
Meet your recycling collection driver
It’s largely thanks to the diligence of recycling collection driver, Greg Penny.
Responsible for the curbside collection within the municipal boundaries for four years, after finishing his route, Greg drives the truck to Parksville where it’s unloaded into the yard before continuing on to Nanaimo.
Greg is committed to the recycling movement within the Valley and he goes above and beyond what is required of a driver. When he sees a couple items that are not recyclable, he’ll often remove them and leave them in the bin, along with a sticker that states, “Not at the curb, bring to 3rd” rather than leaving the whole bin of recycling. This is not typical of most drivers! If the bin includes too many unacceptable items or it’s covered in stickers, there’s no time for him to sort.
The hope is that eventually people will become better educated on what is – and is not – acceptable in the curbside bin. Unfortunately, more than once he’s found the same item in the bin the following week with the sticker still attached which can be slightly disheartening.
Awareness is improving
Overall, Greg finds people are getting better at recycling. Sometimes issues arise in summer, likely with visitors who are used to a different system, and sometimes people make honest mistakes. Confusion can arise with the different materials collected at the curb versus the Recycling Depot on 3rd Avenue, for example.
The most frequent non-curbside items are Greg finds are glass items, overwrap (such as the wrap on flats of pop), greasy pizza boxes, Styrofoam (that meat often comes on), and multi-material bubble wrap envelopes (paper on the outside, plastic bubble wrap inside).
And he reminds residents that bins need to be out on the curb by 7 a.m., placed on the curb, approximately three feet from the garbage can. If it’s too close to the garbage can, behind the garbage can or on top of the garbage can, it interfere with the garbage trucks.
For more info on what can and cannot be recycled via curb-side and Recycle BC depots visit recyclebc.ca/what-can-i-recycle. For other recycling services in the Alberni Valley visit acrd.bc.ca/recycling.