City aims to have glass out of blue bins by May

As of Jan. 1, the City of New Westminster residents started asking residents to stop putting glass in their curbside collection recycle bins.

But there’s time for everyone to get on board—they won’t make a big deal about it until mid-May.

“It’s obvious there’s going to be a lot of buzz around glass collection,” said Kristian Davis, the city’s solid waste director.

“We’re not exactly thrilled about it ourselves—it’s a reduction in service.”

Along with most other municipalities in the region, the city recently reluctantly agreed to have Multi Material BC (MMBC), a private non-profit consortium of packaging producers, take recyclable products collected from local single-family homes.

But MMBC will not accept glass products, saying they are too difficult to separate from the rest of the recyclables and inevitably break in the collection process.

MMBC will reimburse New West for its recyclables, but will charge the city a fee when there’s too much glass contamination.

With the changeover to MMBC due to take place May 19, the city is asking people living in single-family homes to stop putting glass in their bins and instead take them to the city’s recycling depot near the Canada Games Pool.

Davis said the city understands some residents unaware of the change or reluctant to separate the glass are going to keep putting glass in their bins, but “we won’t put the hammer down on it” until MMBC takes over. “At this point the only thing we’re going to be doing with residents is tagging the bins.”

“We do want to get [glass] out of the containers,” he added, saying a flyer explaining the changes will be distributed by the city soon along with notification on its website, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and in the media.

Davis said the city considered continuing to provide curbside collection of glass but the expense would be too great and would require a rise in utility fees.

He noted glass makes up less than two per cent of the city’s recyclable materials.

Meantime, Davis said the city will monitor how other municipalities handle the glass issue.

The change only applies to curbside collection and not to the city’s recycling program with multi-family dwellings.

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