Cranbrook city council has approved an agreement with RecycleBC to pursue a curbside collection program.

Cranbrook city council approves agreement with RecycleBC for curbside collection

Cranbrook city council has taken another step towards curbside recycling collection, unanimously granting staff the authority to pursue a curbside recycling collection program through RecycleBC.

Curbside recycling collection will be operated by a contractor, and is expected to be in operation early next year on a bi-weekly basis following community engagement and the procurement process.

“I’m so happy to be able to vote in favour of this,” said Coun. Norma Blissett. “When I moved here 25 years ago, I left rural southern Ontario with a door-to-door recycling collection and now we will have it here. Still not everyone participates, but the idea that you’re not being penalized for recycling — it’s beyond time for that to happen in Cranbrook.”

The Regional District of East Kootenay recently awarded a $692,000 grant to the City of Cranbrook for start-up costs to be paid out over five years that will be used to acquire 6,231 recycling carts in a rent-to-own scheme. Each cart will be stamped with an address and belong to individual properties, meaning it doesn’t move with a homeowner if a property changes ownership.

READ: RDEK approves grant for start-up costs towards Cranbrook curbside recycling

The annual operating costs for running a curbside recycling collection program is tallied at $397,000, with contractor costs making up $258,000 of that total. However, between annual contributions from the RDEK and RecycleBC, which is expected to provide up to $138,328 and $220,000, respectively, the net budgetary impact is pegged at $40,000.

That $40,000 will be drawn from the Solid Waste Fund Surplus and isn’t expected to increase any costs for taxpayers, based on discussions between council and staff during a council meeting on Monday night.

“In discussion with Finance, they believe we would have enough annually in the Solid Waste [Fund] to cover that, so at this point in time, we’re projecting that we would not have to increase taxes or increase solid waste collection fees to have this service put into place,” said Mike Matejka, Manager of Infrastructure Planning & Delivery.

The curbside recycling collection will be contracted out for three years, until the city purchases a new mechanized fleet of garbage trucks, which is budgeted two years from now. Once the new trucks are acquired, administration will review logistics and costs in order for city personnel and equipment to provide curbside recycling collection services.

“This is definitely a long time coming and it’s exciting to see it come to fruition,” said Coun. Wes Graham.

In the past, recycling has been done through the Yellow Bin program, which is administered by the RDEK. In 2019, it cost the RDEK $1,068,500 to run the Yellow Bin program, with the City of Cranbrook incurring a cost of $462,769.

Through the new RecycleBC depot that opened at the Cranbrook Transfer Station last December, the RDEK generates revenue for every tonne of material recycled. The City of Cranbrook will be able take advantage of that same incentive once the curbside collection program is up and running.

The city will launch a public awareness campaign on the types of acceptable curbside recycleable material ahead of the service launch. Items included for collection include printed papers, corrugated cardboard, paper, plastic, and metal packaging materials, while glass items will not be accepted.

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