One Year In: Reflecting on 12 months of Operations

Today is a milestone day for Multi-Material BC (MMBC). It’s the first anniversary of operations for our packaging and printed paper recycling program. As we reflect on this first year, we share some of the key highlights:

  • Twenty communities have access to curbside recycling for the first time. This includes Prince George, a community of over 85,000. Other communities with new curbside recycling programs include 100 Mile House, 108 Mile Ranch, Coal Harbour (Vancouver Island), Gitxaala Nation, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che;k’t’leset’h’First Nation, Kaslo, Klahoose First Nation, Nak’azdli Band, Nakusp, Nicomen Indian Band, Penticton Indian Band, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Quesnel, Seton Lake Band, Smithers, Terrace, Toquaht Nation, and Upper Similkameen Indian Band. In most of these communities, the local government or First Nation operates the recycling program; in Prince George and Quesnel, MMBC operates the program directly.
  • Households in 87 communities have access to the MMBC program through collection at curbside or in multi-family buildings, or through depot locations.
  • Nearly 200 depots accept MMBC materials. The MMBC depot network helps ensure that residents throughout most of the province have a convenient place to drop off their packaging and printed paper. We are looking at how to expand our depot network to address the needs of residents in communities that do not yet have access to the MMBC program.
  • BC residents are passionate about recycling. We see this in the questions and comments that we receive from our collectors on behalf of the residents they serve. We hope that residents use that enthusiasm to continue recycling more packaging and printed paper.
  • People want to do the right thing. Between questions from collectors on behalf of their residents and questions from residents in the communities we serve directly, people want to be sure that they are recycling the right items, in the right places. We love this! The best way to get questions answered is for residents to contact their recycling service providers. Throughout most of the province, this is the local or regional government. In a few communities, where MMBC is directly responsible for recycling collection, residents should contact the company that collects the recycling, as indicated in their recycling guides.
  • Residents are seeing savings. Most communities have reduced the amount of taxes that residents pay for recycling collection, thanks to the financing that they receive from MMBC, or because MMBC assumed direct responsibility for recycling collection. Other communities are using the money that used to be spent on recycling collection to expand solid waste collection to include green waste programs.
  • Green by Nature EPR (GBN), our post-collection processor for materials collected in the program, is making one of the largest recycling infrastructure investments in the province in recent years, building a container processing facility that once fully operational, will process all of the containers collected in the program. Overall, GBN processes and markets approximately 185,000 tonnes of packaging and printed paper material every year after it has been collected from curbside households, multi-family buildings and depots across the province. Over 750 British Columbians are employed in the GBN post-collection network, either directly or through contractors and sub-contractors. GBN was founded by three industry leaders with over 100 years combined experience, each having played an instrumental role in the development and progress of the recycling industry in BC over the last 40 years:
    • Cascades Recovery – one of Canada’s largest collectors, processors and marketers of recyclable materials generated by businesses and residents.
    • Emterra Environmental – one of Canada’s largest waste resource management companies that provides recyclables collection, processing and marketing services, as well as organics and solid waste collection and disposal services to municipalities and businesses across Canada and the U.S.
    • Merlin Plastics – a North American pioneer in plastics recycling and marketing that holds several patents in plastics recycling technology as a result of its innovative research and development team based in Delta, BC.

A report on the first months of operation will be released by July 1, 2015. The first year of MMBC operations has been a success, and provides a framework on which to build in future years.