There are new Recycle BC Depots at the Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford Transfer Stations.
These depots are operated by the RDEK at all of its staffed Transfer Stations and are part of a provincially regulated Extended Producer Responsibility Program – known as an EPR program. Many people will be familiar with some of the older Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs for things like tires, oil and electronics, where you pay an eco or environmental fee at the store when you buy. That fee is intended to support a system for that product to be recycled and managed through the end of its life. One of the newer EPR programs is aimed at printed paper and packaging. It is managed by Recycle BC and the eco-fees are charged directly to the producers rather than consumers.
Recycle BC’s structure requires the program to be run with very specific guidelines, including gated and staffed locations and separation of materials. The RDEK’s existing yellow bin program and City of Fernie curbside recycling service currently do not meet their program specifications, so it was decided to establish depots at their Transfer Stations providing an opportunity to increase what we can recycle without costing taxpayers extra.
The new Recycle BC Depots give residents the opportunity to recycle over 76 new items and the more recycling we can drive into the depots, the more money it will save taxpayers. The reason for this is that the RDEK is classified as a collector at the Depot – and gets paid by Recycle BC for every tonne collected. By contrast, the RDEK has to pay per tonne for every tonne collected in the yellow bins and City of Fernie curbside recycling.
It is important to understand that the new Depot system is a totally separate program from the yellow bin and the City of Fernie curbside program. There are no changes to the yellow bin program or Fernie curbsideprogram. They ONLY accept paper, cardboard, tin cans, grocery/shopping bags and plastics #1-#6 (no Styrofoam even though it is marked with a #6). People will have to use the Recycle BC Depot at the Transfer Station if they want to access these new recycling opportunities as the RDEK does not have access to the same markets through the yellow bin system.
The early response from East Kootenay residents has been fantastic. People are excited to be able to recycle so many more items, and while there will be an adjustment as people learn the new system and some of the sorting required, this is a great thing for our region.
Over the next few months, the RDEK will be rolling out an extensive education campaign to provide residents with more information – including helpful videos and tip sheets that will provide residents with the information they need to use the new system efficiently and correctly.
To learn more, visit engage.rdek.bc.ca/recycle.