WATCH: As of today, Victoria’s Bottle Depot Return-It-Centre won’t be able to take any of your plastic bags, milk jugs or styrofoam. They say the provincial program is no longer profitable, and as Kori Sidaway tells us, the company may be the first of many forced to make the move.
The cleaning, the sorting: it’s all time-consuming.
“It needs to be convenient and easy, otherwise you won’t do it,” said recycling expert Karin Sweeney.
But in Greater Victoria, recycling may be getting more difficult.
“Apparently they don’t take these anymore,” said Victoria resident Kim Harloff, holding up a plastic milk jug.
“I have a lot of disposables, I don’t know where I’m going to dispose of them now,” said local Nancy Wilkes, pointing to a bag of styrofoam and plastic.
As of Monday, Victoria’s Bottle Depot will no longer take blue-box recyclables like milk jugs, mixed paper, yogurt containers, glass jars, or banned curbside materials like plastic bags and styrofoam.
“As soon as we touch these bags, we’re close to losing money,” said Kelly Gorman, general manager of Victoria’s Bottle Depot.
Recycle B.C. sets the province-wide price per bag for the program, but the Bottle Depot says it’s so low, the company has been bleeding money for the last year.
“We can’t accept them any longer because the revenue wasn’t as high as the cost was for running the program,” said Gorman.
“We love offering this service to the public, we know it’s a need in the CRD, but we can’t continue to subsidize it with our other programs.”
Pop bottles and beer cans carry a refundable deposit, making it easier for the company to recycle, and activists say now it’s time for the government to consider that for recycled plastics.
“If the government doesn’t step up and incentivize or subsidize some of these programs like they said they would, we’re going to see more of these individual private companies that are trying to do good, say sorry, we can’t do this anymore,” said Chris-Ann, the co-manager of Surfrider’s Vancouver Island chapter.
The materials can still be brought to Oak Bay Public Works, Hartland landfill, Return It in Esquimalt, and Island Return It.
But the change leaves nowhere to bring the recyclables in the downtown core.
“I’d have to have quite a supply to drive out there, so it’s really too bad. It was so convenient,” said Wilkes.
And many are worried the mountains of plastic and styrofoam, like the five-plus bins at the Bottle Return-It, filled to the brim just from the weekend alone, won’t end up being recycled in the future.
“Those things might end up in the garbage now if people aren’t informed about what other options are out there,” said Sweeney.
Recycle B.C. says they will be reviewing its fees again within the year.