A Smithers bailing facility planned for industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) cardboard, has fallen through.
Curtis Helgesen, the chief administrative officer for the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN), said the regional district received an update on Friday, Dec. 4, from Waste Management that the facility had still not been finalized and that the company was implementing hauling options in the interim.
Waste Management was supposed to be coming up with this bailing facility but instead, they have agreed to transport commercial cardboard to recycling facilities in Terrace and Prince George, according to Gary Chittam, the communications manager for the Pacific Northwest region for Waste Management.
“Waste Management is committed to finding recycling solutions for our customers. We have just developed a plan that will provide service to our commercial customers in the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako. Waste Management will continue to collect commercial cardboard in the ban area and will now transport it to the communities of Terrace or Prince George for proper recycling,” said Chittam in an email to Black Press Media.
Waste Management will collect the cardboard from dumpsters or carts at the commercial customers’ locations and will transport it to recycling facilities in Terrace or Prince George whichever is closer.
Meanwhile the future of a new facility for the Bulkley Valley is uncertain.
“Basically it is on hold. Waste Management, who provide cardboard collection, are looking at all options and then will decide best service model. Unfortunately, potential solutions evolve and are changing and takes time,” said Mark Fisher, the electoral area A (Smithers rural) director for the RDBN, adding that the regional district in the meantime would continue to advocate for provincial policy change that would bring commercial recycling into an extended producer responsibility program, to make providing service possible.
The company has not provided actual rates for the service, but told the RDBN it will be cheaper for ICI customers than if they build the Smithers facility. Fisher said the regional district is taking a wait-and-see approach as to whether it plays out that way.
In May 2019, when a fire destroyed the receiving facility in Smithers, the RDBN temporarily lifted the cardboard ban at Knockholt Landfill and Smither/Telkwa Transfer Station. As a result, more than 500 metric tons of ICI cardboard was received at the Knockholt Landfill from the entire western part of the regional district. All this additional material started to threaten the stability of the landfill due to the extra volume of waste added to the landfill and that’s when the RDBN started looking for alternative solutions for ICI cardboard disposal.
The RDBN has now reinstated the ban on ICI cardboard at the Knockholt Landfill and Smithers/Telkwa Transfer Station, starting Dec. 6.
-with files from Thom Barker