Sorting Through the Recycling News – May, 2019 Newsletter now online…
“Is Canada’s recycling industry broken?” (Global News, April 29, 2019)
“Reduce, reuse, recycle, rejected: Why Canada’s recycling industry is in crisis mode” (The Globe & Mail, May 15, 2019).
People had heard that after China closed their doors to overly-contaminated materials, there was nowhere for it to go, and their well-sorted recyclables were going straight into the garbage.
While this may unfortunately be true for other municipalities in North America, it is NOT the case in British Columbia, and definitely not the case in Maple Ridge.
British Columbia is a leader in the recycling industry. Our stewardship programs, regulated and reviewed by the provincial government, are designed to be 100% funded by the manufacturers and retailers of the products themselves. Almost all items we accept at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depotare part of these programs, also known as Extended Producer Responsibilityprograms, or EPR.
Recycle BC is the not-for-profit organization responsible for residential packaging and paper product recycling throughout British Columbia. They address the China ban and what happens to collected recycling on their website.
There are two big reasons why we are largely unaffected by the shifts shutting down recycling programs in other parts of the continent:
1. BC has a local plastic processing plant – Merlin Plastics, located on Annacis Island
2. Recycle BC supports multi-stream recycling, which results in a cleaner product, that is more valuable to processors and easier to market. They also require their collectors to keep contamination levels below 3%.
Global News (finally) addressed how we are different (and mainly unaffected by recent changes) in a subsequent portions of their coverage – “Canada’s recycling industry is on life support – here’s how to fix it.” and “B.C. better positioned to handle Chinese recycling ban.” CBC News also produced a video addressing “Why B.C. is better at recycling than the rest of Canada.”
While this industrial shift is a major setback to many recycling programs around the world, what will hopefully emerge is a better understanding of how the recycling industry works, the development of local markets and local jobs in the green sector, and more people taking responsibility for the waste they produce.