In BC, most things can be recycled. The provincial government has a program called Extended Producer Responsibility (ESR) which is meant to put the cost of managing the end-of-life for products and packaging to industry. While this program has been around for awhile, one of the last parts of the ESR program, placing the responsibility to manage packaging and printed material end-of-life to industry, is just starting to ramp up.
Most municipalities have recycling programs in place that collecting product packaging and printed material already. In Metro Vancouver, this is usually in the form of curb side recycling or central collection points in apartment buildings. One of the concerns expressed by municipalities was that Multi-Material British Columbia, an organization established by industry to manage packaging and printed material, would result in a reduction of waste being diverted to landfill. Even if Multi-Material British Columbia collections more material from households, there is a concern that some material collected will go into landfill anyway or into permanent “storage” if this is no market for the recycling of the materials it collects.
Another concern is that it may be more difficult to recycling glass in some communities. Because glass can contaminating the recycling stream, Multi-Material British Columbia wants glass materials collected independent of other materials. In some communities, there will only be minor changes to how current glass collection works, but in other community people may have to return glass to glass recycling depots. This would result in more glass ending up in landfill.
It’s not all bad new though. Most people in BC will now be able to recycling more material including :
-Gabletop containers (e.g., milk cartons)
-Aluminum foil containers
-Asceptic containers (e.g., soy milk, soup containers)
-Plastic clamshell containers (commonly supplied by bakeries and delis)
-Paper packaging coated with wax or plastic (e.g., milk cartons, ice cream cartons)
-Hot and cold drink cups
Starting on May 19th, the Multi-Material British Columbia recycling program begins in the City of Langley for single-family houses and June 17th for multi-family complexes. Right now the City has a single-stream recycling system, but after May 19th glass will have to be put into new glass-only recycling containers that are being delivered. Between June 17th and May 19th, people that live in multi-family complexes will not be able to recycling glass. Plastic shopping bags and styrofoam containers will be collected at depots. More information is on the City of Langley’s website.