Employees at the Parksville Bottle and Recycling Depot say they’re being harassed by people who believe the staff should be sorting their recyclables. - Karly Blats photo

Parksville recycling depot staff report verbal, physical harassment from the public

Staff say some people are unaware they must sort their own items

Employees at the Parksville Bottle and Recycling Depot say they are being verbally and physically harassed by people who believe the staff should be sorting their recyclables.

The depot, at 611A Alberni Hwy., is a privately owned facility operating under the Recycle BC recycling guide.

The depot is a free collection service and not a sorting service, said owner (for 25 years) Louise Tyler and her husband and operations manager, Neil Tyler.

If the depot accepts recyclables that are either contaminated with food or not sorted properly they could be fined or lose their licence.

“I only get paid for the product separated… we get paid by weight,” Neil said. “So if [the product] is separated I can take that but if it’s not I can’t take that, and [customers] get very angry at us and call us some pretty profound names… just for us doing our job.”

RELATED: Parksville bottle depot now offers free oil and antifreeze recycling

Neil added that staff aren’t even allowed to go through and sort people’s recyclables if they wanted to because of safety issues.

“There could be broken glass, needles, anything,” Neil said. “Even when you explain that to them, they’re very angry.”

Neil said employees have quit because of constant harassment from unhappy customers and that Louise was recently punched in the face by someone who was unclear about the sorting process.

“It was the first time in 25 years I’ve had to phone the police,” Louise said. “Employees are hard to find, too. We have lost a few and we can’t replace them so the summer gets very challenging because our population doubles.”

The depot is not affiliated with the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN). Neil said the RDN collects the recycling from the blue boxes left outside residences and sorts it, which he said can sometimes make people think the recycling depot should sort, too.

Neil and Louise believe the public needs to educate themselves on what they can and can’t bring to the recycling depot for collection and if there is an item that can’t be returned to the facility than it’s the consumer’s job to dispose of it, not the depot’s.

“I think it’s something we have to learn as a community and do the right thing,” Louise said. “If you’re not happy about recycling then you should change as a consumer how you’re purchasing because the producers are going to still keep packaging.”

RELATED: Bottle drive thanks

Because the depot is so diligent in having customers sort their own recycling, they have a less than one per cent contamination rate, which Neil said gets them a lot of praise from Recycle BC.

“If we wanted to be less diligent we could take that chance of losing our licence or getting fined just to put a smile on your face. We take more pride in being that one per cent and doing it right because that’s the job you’ve asked me to do,” he said. “It’s a thankless job for trying to do the right thing.”

To find out exactly what the Parksville depot accepts, visit recyclebc.ca or pick up a brochure from the facility.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An illustration was given to the Parksville’s Church of the Ascension by a person, in appreciation for allowing use of its shower facility. (Mike Favero/Submitted photo)
Parksville church makes showers available to the homeless

Pastor receives special illustration from one appreciative person

There are now plans to reduce scaled of a proposed Ballenas running track upgrade. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville Qualicum Beach running track project plans reduced in scale

Track group to switch to community grassroots level due to lack of support from regional district

Tigh-Na-Mara general manager Paul Drummond, left, and SOS executive director Susanna Newton right are prepared for a reinvented Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive in 2020. COVID-19 will not spoil the community’s annual day of giving and help for local families through the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program. (Peter McCully photo)
Reinventing Parksville Qualicum Beach’s popular Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive

COVID-19 restrictions won’t spoil community’s annual morning of giving

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Facebook photo)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read