The Capital Regional District says that recycling pickup from residential and commercial sources, including most multi-family housing complexes, has been suspended immediately due to an equipment breakdown at the region’s main sorting facility.
“More neighbourhoods than not have had issues with the collection of recycling just given the challenges we’ve had,” said Rush Smith, senior manager of environmental resource management for the Capital Regional District.
Smith says the recent snowy weather, trucks breaking down, supply chain issues and staffing problems have led to excessive delays in recycling pickup.
Rachelle Lamb lives in a multi-family housing complex in the Oaklands neighbourhood and says her recycling pickup has been delayed for five weeks.
“I would think that if you miss one schedule, that you would catch up some time over the next couple of weeks,” said Lamb, frustrated with a “lack of communication” from the CRD.
Cascades Recovery, the processing centre which accepts most of the CRD’s recyclable materials, cannot currently receive loads due to a malfunction to its baler machine.
“The materials are put into these giant bails wrapped with metal to keep them together so they can be transported to another location,” said David Lefebvre, spokesperson for Recycle BC. “The challenge that we’re facing right now is that baler is not working.”
Officials expect the baler to be fixed by early next week.
However, blue bin curbside recycling pickup will continue thanks to a contingency plan launched by Emterra, the contractor responsible for recycling collection, and Recycle BC.
The CRD warns that while curbside pickup will continue this week, that could change due to ongoing staffing and equipment challenges. Smith says, however, they’re working on logistical plans to ensure households who’ve had excessive delays like Lamb will receive priority collection.
Residents are asked to check the CRD’s recycling website for updates.
In the meantime, Hartland Landfill will not reject any garbage loads containing recyclable materials during the temporary suspension, but those loads could still be subject to fines prohibiting disposal of recyclable items.
“The CRD is encouraging commercial collectors in the region to consider short-term storage or delayed collection options with their customers where possible over the coming week,” the district said.
The region’s recycling program has faced no shortage of challenges in recent months due to severe weather and ongoing transportation, labour shortage and supply chain issues, according to the CRD.