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

COVID-19: Uptick in calls to Haven Society crisis line as restrictions ease

Organization reminds people of their range of services

ICET provides Qualicum Beach with $250K for East Village project

Town expects revitalization plan to attract more developments

COVID-19: Garage sales should follow mass gathering guidelines

City has received variety of queries on the issue

Parksville’s ‘Support Local’ parade celebrates businesses

Approximately 30 vehicles turn out for event

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach man stages concerts for charity out of his garage

Larry MacDougall says reception from neighbours has been heartening

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read