Osoyoos residents urged to not contaminate recycled materials brought to local landfill

By on October 10, 2017

Michelle Kilbey, a weigh scale clerk at the Osoyoos landfill site, stands in front of one of the several containers where local residents can dispose of recyclable materials. The contamination of recyclable materials has become a big problem lately at the landfill, says Jim Dinwoodie, the Town’s director of operational services. (Keith Lacey photo)

The Town of Osoyoos’ operational services department is urging local residents to take the necessary steps to properly discard recycled material being dropped off at the Osoyoos landfill.

The issue of “recycling contamination” has become a serious issue as Recycle BC, the non-profit organization responsible for most of the recycling programs in this province, is threatening to increase fines to municipalities that don’t properly recycle the vast volumes of material brought to landfill operations, said Jim Dinwoodie, the town’s director of operational services.

“If people are putting things like herbicides, pesticides and motor oil in with other recycled materials, that entire load brought to the landfill will be contaminated,” said Dinwoodie. “When that happens, and it has been happening a lot lately, then the entire load becomes regular garbage and has to be discarded at the landfill, which really is contrary to the entire goal of recycling in the first place.”

At the town’s landfill site, the recycling area is now set up so that local residents should have no problem properly discarding recycled materials into proper bins, said Dinwoodie.

“We have signs to explain the items to be recycled and what can’t or shouldn’t be recycled in that same container,” he said. “We have what’s called a 40-yard container now set up and there are signs to show were various recycled material should be discarded.”

Dinwoodie wanted local residents to know that Recycle BC makes the rules and regulations relating to recycling and the town has no choice but to enforce those regulations.

Recycling contamination has become such a big issue that Recycle BC is threatening to increase fines as well as increase enforcement, he said.

Dinwoodie will be attending a conference in mid-November in New Westminister sponsored by Recycle BC and he’s expecting confirmation about the new fines and enforcement regulations at that conference.

The 40-yard container, which is a huge blue bin with various slots marked with signage, can be used to drop off recycled cardboard, cardboard boxes (waxed cardboard is not recyclable and should be discarded into regular garbage), paper, magazines and shredded paper. Shredded paper is the only item listed above that is allowed into the container in a plastic bag and all other items must be loose, said Dinwoodie.

There is also an area to drop off glass and the sign says Commercial Glass, but this area is for commercial drop off and for local residents.

There is also a new container with windows in it with signs under the windows for items to be recycled in that window and instructions for what is accepted and what is not, he said.

In this container, the items that are accepted are white Styrofoam, coloured Styrofoam and mixed containers.

Construction Styrofoam or spray in foam in plastic are not recyclable and are garbage, he said.

Containers brought to the landfill should be empty, rinsed and clean with lids taken off and should be loose and not in bags, he said.

These items include tin cans, plastic bottles and jugs, plastic trays and clamshells, milk and soup cartons, foil wrap and take out containers, plastic and paper take out cups, bowls and lids and empty aerosol cans.

Any beverage containers you pay a refundable deposit when you purchase are to be taken to the Osoyoos Bottle Depot for recycling.

No paint, motor oils, antifreeze, herbicide/pesticide, chemical containers, toys, snorkels or masks, hoses, PVC pipe, lawn furniture or oversized plant pots should be brought to the recycling area, he said.

All metal goes into the landfill metal pile; Freon items are separated out for Freon removal; all clean wood goes into the landfill wood pile and all green waste goes into the landfill and garden pile, however, fruits and vegetables go into a separate composting pile.

There are also areas for batteries, propane tanks, aluminum framed windows, mattresses and box springs.

All items that plug in or use a battery, stereo and computer components or cellphones also need to be brought to the bottle depot for recycling, as well as any paint, stain, fluorescent light bulbs and tubes.

There is also a site at the landfill to properly drop off motor oil and fuel filters.

Proper recycling means you are not only helping the environment, but also prolonging the life of the local landfill, said Dinwoodie.

“The town and the landfill contractor (B & B Wood Grinding) try to recycle as much as possible in order to facilitate good landfill practices and have the landfill last as long as possible,” he said. “By recycling, we save what is called air space, so we have more room for actual garbage instead of filling up the landfill with recyclable items … so the landfill will be around for a longer period of time.”

The Osoyoos landfill is exceptionally clean and well-run and the town wants to see that continue and issuing this public notice about proper recycling is a step in that direction, said Dinwoodie.

“Most people have good intentions and don’t think they’re doing anything wrong,” he said. “But as I stated earlier, when you contaminate a bunch of recycled material, the entire load is no longer able to be recycled and becomes garbage. We’re asking local residents to take a little extra time and make sure proper materials are getting discarded in the proper locations.”

The Osoyoos landfill is open 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Saturday. It is closed Sunday, Monday and holidays.


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