As of March 1, both the Parksville and Qualicum Beach recycling depots will no longer take glass, soft plastic or foam for recycle – and Recycle B.C. says they are working hard to try and find a solution before that date.
If a solution isn’t found by March 1, PQB residents will need to drive to Nanaimo or Courtenay to find the nearest places to recycle their items. For some people in north Qualicum Beach, that could mean a 45 minute drive in either direction.
The depot announced in a press release just before Christmas that their locations would no longer take residential recycling, citing extensive labour costs and disputes with customers that sometimes resulted in physical altercations.
Qualicum Beach resident Dianne Cafik is concerned that people won’t make the extra effort to bring their recycling to another town.
“Who on earth will go to Nanaimo or Comox? They will put them in the garbage,” said Cafik in an email.
Director of public affairs for Recycle B.C., Dave Lefebvre, says the organization is looking to partner with a business to collect items on the organization’s behalf.
“We’re obviously committed to providing recycling services to the residents of Parksville and Qualicum area. And we’re working really hard to find a solution. The current depots are not leaving the program until March 1, so we still have a little bit of time left. It is certainly challenging, trying to find a new location, but we’re working hard to try to find a new location,” said Lefebvre.
“If we do not have a new location by March 1, then at that point… the nearest place to go would be Nanaimo. And that will be hopefully a stop-gap measure until we can find a new location.”
Recycle B.C. relies on private businesses, like the Parksville and Qualicum Beach Bottle Depots, to collect items on their behalf. The businesses are paid a fee in exchange for the free collection service.
“If on March 1 we do not have a solution, people can consult the recycle BC website and it’ll tell them where the closest depot is. … There will be opportunities there, granted, a little bit further afield.”
The Regional District of Nanaimo’s solid waste manager, Larry Gardner, has confirmed that it will not be able to provide an interim service. Gardner says they had considered several options to help fill the gap, but that none of them were feasible.
“It’s Recycle B.C.’s responsibility to provide a level of service for those materials at the end of their life, in conjunction with their stewardship plan,” said Gardner.
Anyone wishing to find out more information can contact Recycle B.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling their toll-free number 1-855-875-3596. Information about depot locations throughout the province can be found at www.recyclebc.ca/where-to-recycle/find-depot/