Over 480 tonnes of recyclables have been collected in Cranbrook since the curb-side program began one year ago. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman)

Over 480 tonnes of recyclables have been collected in Cranbrook since the curb-side program began one year ago. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman)

Cranbrook marks one year of curb-side recycling program

Over 480 tonnes of recyclables have been collected, but contamination still a factor

Over 480 tonnes of recyclables have been collected since the City of Cranbrook’s curb-side recycling program began one year ago.

The City is marking the first anniversary of the recycling program, having collected a total of 94,562 bins from homes over the course of the year.

That equates to 6,242 bins every two weeks, averaging 77 kilograms of material. The total weight of 480 tonnes is equal to approximately 100 elephants.

Mayor Lee Pratt thanked the community for contributing to the new recycling program and its success.

“The amount of material we have been able to keep out of our landfill is impressive, and could not have happened without people embracing curb-side recycling,” Pratt said. “A big thank you as well to our staff, the RDEK and Recycle BC for their support of this important initiative.”

Despite the success of the program, some unaccepted materials still end up in bins, causing an average contamination rate of around 6.6 per cent.

The most common items that end up in curb-side bins that aren’t supposed to are hard and soft cover books, flexible packaging, materials with food residue such as pizza boxes, scrap metal and glass.

Evan Barry, Project Manager with Cranbrook’s Public Works department, explained that when unaccepted materials are put into a curb-side collection bin, they contaminate the recycling.

“The contamination leads to a lower quality recycled product and reduced subsidies from RecycleBC towards our curb-side collection program, which ultimately costs city taxpayers,” Barry said, adding that RecycleBC audits loads of recycling, along with the City, but that public education is the number one tool.

“[The contamination rate of] 6.6 per cent is more than double the target amount of contamination, so we definitely have room for improvement,” said Barry. “Many municipalities across BC, and likely even across North America, struggle to consistently achieve low contamination rates.”

Many of the previously mentioned items and more can still be recycled, just not through the curb-side program. They can be taken to the RecycleBC depot at the Cranbrook Transfer station. Acceptable items include glass bottles and jars, foam trays and takeout containers, foam packaging, flexible packaging (chip bags, zipper lock bags, woven plastic bags) and plastic bags and overwrap (plastic wrapped around things like toilet paper).

Those wanting a reminder for recycling and garbage pick-up days can sign up at cranbrook.ca/recycling or through the 311 app on your smartphone. An email or text message will be sent out reminding you to place your bins curb-side.


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