Burnaby to continue glass pickup

Burnaby Coun. Dan Johnston -
Burnaby Coun. Dan Johnston
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Burnaby residents will continue to get glass containers picked up for recycling, even though many other Metro Vancouver municipalities are ending the practice.

On May 19, Multi-Material BC (MMBC), an industry-led and funded non-profit organization, took over responsibility for managing recycling on behalf of producers. Municipalities will now act as a contractor for MMBC, collecting materials on its behalf.

While MMBC will accept glass for recycling, it does not want it mixed in with other types of materials due to the problem of broken glass contaminating loads. As a result, many municipalities are requiring residents take their glass to depots for recycling.

But that won't be the case in Burnaby, if council approves a staff proposal to continue collecting it and keeping it separate.

Originally, MMBC refused to take glass but "reluctantly" changed its mind, said Coun. Dan Johnston, chair of Burnaby's environment committee.

Now, "MMBC will take glass but they want it in a pure form and their suggestion is to only accept it at the eco-centres (recycling depots)."

Burnaby city hall doesn't think that's an environmentally positive solution. "Plus it's also not practical because no one's going to do it," he said in explaining the reasoning behind the city's plan.

Johnston said Burnaby is fortunate it already has separated recycling. In Surrey, residents throw all their materials into one large toter, making separation more difficult.

Under the proposal, single-family homes would be issued new grey, six-gallon containers for glass collection. Multi-family complexes would designate their grey toters for glass only, and convert their blue toters to collect mixed containers.

Under the new colour coding, newspapers and mixed papers will be collected together in new, larger yellow bags for houses and the yellow toters for apartments.

If all goes as planned, the change will take place sometime in the fall, said Dipak Dattani, assistant director of engineering-environmental protection.

"We've told MMBC about it and they're aware of our approach," Dattani said.

In the meantime, collection will continue as before. Residents are to continue placing glass into their blue boxes until the separate container is provided. The city will continue sending the materials to its current processor until the switch is made to MMBC's designated processor.

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