Glass still goes in blue boxes, for now

Scotty Robertson tends to the glass recycling bin at the Burnaby Eco Centre. The city is still formulating its plan to continue curbside pickup of recyclable glass. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
Scotty Robertson tends to the glass recycling bin at the Burnaby Eco Centre. The city is still formulating its plan to continue curbside pickup of recyclable glass.

Burnaby residents will still be able to recycle glass jars and bottles.

Although they may have to separate them out from other recyclables beginning in May, said Dipak Dattani, the city’s assistant director of engineering.

Dattani said his department is currently preparing a report to city council recommending Burnaby’s curbside recycling program continue to collect glass even though the new stewards of recycling programs across the province, Multi Material B.C., will no longer accept glass.

MMBC said glass containers break easily and contaminate other recyclables. Glass fragments can also cause problems with processing equipment as well as present a hazard to workers handling the materials. In 2011, glass containers comprised less than two per cent of the 200,000 tonnes of materials recycled in B.C.

Several cities, including neighbouring New Westminster, have told residents they won’t be able to recycle glass when the changeover occurs in May.

Dattani said the decision by MMBC to stop accepting glass has complicated matters for municipal recycling programs and caused confusion for residents.

“We are working with other communities to make sure there’s a regional cohesiveness,” said Dattani.

Burnaby has a fleet of 10 trucks that collect recyclables from approximately 35,000 single and two-family residences across the city. It also handles about 70 per cent of recyclables from multi-family buildings.

Dattani said once the city’s new plan for collecting glass is in place, it will launch an information campaign to get the word out about what can and can’t be placed in blue boxes.

“Today the procedure is to put glass in the blue box,” said Dattani. “We’ll have to re-engage with residents and reinforce new habits.”

For now, though, they can continue placing their pickle and jam jars into their blue box, said Dattani. Or they can drop them at the city’s expansive new Eco Centre at 4855 Still Creek Ave., which also collects a host of other household recyclables like styrofoam, old appliances, batteries, paint, solvents and used fats.

“That’s how we’ll proceed.”


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