British Columbia

Recycle B.C. asks people to keep glass bottles, foam packaging at home for now

Recycle B.C. is asking people across the province to hold on to some of their recycling, due to challenges transporting the materials to their end destination over roadways that have been damaged by floods. 

Many roadways leading from the Interior to Lower Mainland recycling destinations are too damaged to be used

Recycle B.C. has suspended collection of glass bottles and foam packaging, citing challenges in shipping the materials to facilities whose roads have been damaged by floods and mudslides. (Ted Deller/CBC)

Recycle B.C. is asking people across the province to hold on to some of their recycling, due to challenges transporting the materials to their end destination over roadways that have been damaged by floods. 

The B.C. non-profit responsible for the recycling of residential garbage says, as of this week, it has suspended collection of non-deposit glass bottles and jars, as well as Styrofoam packaging from its depots. It is also suspending collection of all glass bottles and jars from curbside and multi-family collection facilities.

Recycle B.C. has 36 receiving facilities for recyclable materials located across the province, but has only two key material recovery facilities — located in Richmond and New Westminster — the destinations for most of the collected materials.

Material recovery facilities prepare recycled material for end-use manufacturers.

According to DriveBC, multiple sections of major roads connecting the Lower Mainland with the rest of the province, remain closed due to serious damage caused by flooding and mudslides.

"The road closures have really compromised transportation corridors that we would traditionally use to move materials from a receiving facility in your area down to the Lower Mainland and then to markets [for glass]," Recycle B.C. spokesperson Dave Lefebvre told host Chris Walker Tuesday on CBC's Daybreak South.

"In addition, those road closures have also really limited the number of trucks that are available to transport materials."

The primary glass end-market that Recycle B.C. ships recycled bottles and jars to is located in Abbotsford, which has been under a local state of emergency since Nov. 15 due to major flooding.

"The place that we would send glass to … was severely affected by the flooding," Lefebvre said.

An aerial view shows a damaged road near Lytton, B.C., on Nov. 15, 2021. (B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Reuters)

He says although floodwater has been receding from the plant, its operators still have to assess the flood damage on the property and figure out how long it will take to get it back up and running.

Recycle B.C. says it is continuing to collect paper, cardboard, containers and soft plastics, which are all materials that can be baled and stored at receiving facilities in a compact manner.

Lefebvre says he isn't sure how long the suspension of glass and Styrofoam collection will last but hopes collection of other materials won't be suspended.

"We are assessing the situation daily and we are frankly working around the clock trying to come up with solutions," he said. "but we haven't ruled out the possibility that we may have to ask for some other materials to be suspended."

"We're hopeful that that won't be the case."

With files from Daybreak South

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