If you could change one important aspect of life on Pender, what would it be? Just as I thought, thousands of voices in unison, shouting “No more sorting of plastic when we recycle!” Presto! Your wish is granted. No more hunting for almost invisible numbers on plastic packaging to determine which plastic goes where. By the way, the second most requested wish on Pender was to allow recycling Penderites to drop off Styrofoam at the recycling Depot. The third? Not having to remove paper labels from cans. Your wishes are granted! Well, that was fun but I think I had better get out of the wish granting business before it goes to my head – as if it hasn’t already. Seriously, changes are coming to recycling on Pender and those are three of them, and they start right now.
The reason for the changes is that the BC government has turned over full responsibility of recycling RESIDENTIAL packaging and printed paper, the stuff that has traditionally gone into city dwellers’ blue boxes, to the businesses and industry responsible for creating the packaging and paper in the first place. BC legislation is also forcing industry to recycle more of the items that they create, hence the addition of Styrofoam to the collection stream at our depot. Sadly, a few things are being removed. See our website, www.penderislandrecycling.com, for a list of what we accept at the depot and what we don’t.
Business and industry has formed and is funding an agency, Multi Material BC (MMBC), to represent them in this new undertaking. For the last two years, we, the Pender Island Recycling Society, local governments and the other recycling operations in BC have been negotiating with MMBC to come up with a plan that will ensure continued, sustainable recycling services in BC. Until now, we have been largely funded by the CRD to provide the equivalent of urban blue box recycling on Pender. The CRD funding has been augmented by Penderites in the form of voluntary Pender Island Recycling Society memberships, and generous donations of recyclable items like pop, beer and liquor bottles. Negotiations with MMBC towards sustainable long-term funding have taken many twists and turns, and the optimism of our negotiating team rising and falling accordingly. Until April 2015, PIRS has a sub-contractor agreement with the CRD to continue providing the collection of residential packaging and printed paper at our depot. We are continuing to stand with our strong CRD ally in attempting to negotiate a long-term agreement with MMBC.
Unfortunately, one shortcoming of the shift of responsibility around the recycling of residential packaging and printed paper is the financial penalties that will be levied on our depot if we continued to collect this kind recycling from island businesses and organizations. MMBC is legally obliged to collect only residential packaging and printed paper. This means that Pender Island Recycling can no longer accept packaging and printed paper from island businesses or organizations.
Until now, the services provided by Pender Island Recycling have far exceeded those of blue box programs. In the future we hope, with your support, to continue that “above and beyond” level of services. There are still many questions to be answered about this new program and many little glitches to be ironed out. Stick with us, Pender, we have many good years of recycling ahead of us.
You may recall from an earlier column, that our annual Household Hazardous Waste collection day is coming. The Household Haz Waste day is now set for Sunday, September 28. Please mark that date on the calendar and wait for further details. Speaking of dates, Pender summer officially starts in June. Starting in June and running through September, depot switches to summer hours and adds Fridays to our work days. Starting in June and carrying on through September, the hours and days will be, Tuesdays 8 am - 3 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 9am – 3 pm, and Sundays 1 pm – 5 pm.
Under “the best for last” comes the reminder that the ReCycle Community Bike Shop is open and a qualified bike mechanic (either Laurie Brown or Jackson Alan) will be in the bike shop most Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays from now through the fall. We especially look forward to the Farmers’ Market on July 5, when we will have the second annual PIRS Bike Sale. The event was a smash hit last year and should be even better this year.
Ah, safe, reconditioned, reasonably priced bikes available on Pender. Small wonder they’re all good days on Pender.