Local governments fail to appreciate the true value of the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, says letter writer. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Investing in recycling centre is necessary to meet targets

The NRE is the only true way we have been able to make up for inadequate curbside recycling

To the editor,

Re: Recycling exchange’s existence in question, July 27.

Unlike the for-profit recycling centres, the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange accepts materials such as glass, Styrofoam, plastic wrap and other materials that cost it money to be recycled. Styrofoam alone can occupy up to 25 per cent of the space at landfills, but because the city and the RDN consider only the weight of materials they give no credit to the NRE for greatly extending the life of our regional landfill. In other words, they fail to appreciate the true value of the NRE.

They also fail to recognize that the NRE is capable of creating local employment by spurring new industries using our waste materials. Unlike the event centre, these jobs would continue to increase over time, would benefit all people in our region, and would benefit the environment. Unlike any other investment a waste recovery centre would retain materials rather than burn or bury them, thus benefiting future generations, and would actually bring us to the 90 per cent diversion rate envisioned by the city.

The NRE is the only true way we have been able to make up for the inadequate curbside provincial recycling program, a program that gives the RDN and city more than $2 million a year. Why isn’t at least some of this income being invested in the NRE and its vision of better utilizing waste materials?

We have been getting a free ride for too long. Either the city and the RDN get serious about the benefits of the NRE or we fill up our landfill more quickly and/or get a far more expensive and polluting incinerator.

Invest now or pay later.

Ian Gartshore, Nanaimo