Multi Material B.C. provides recycling services in Nanaimo.

Multi Material B.C. provides recycling services in Nanaimo.

Regional district, city pleased with recycling contract

NANAIMO – Two-year anniversary of MMBC deals results in lower utility bills for residents.

Officials who manage waste in the Nanaimo area are pleased with the deal from a provincial recycling organization signed two years ago.

In 2014, the City of Nanaimo and the Regional District of Nanaimo signed curbside recycling deals with Multi Material B.C., the non-profit organization that manages residential packaging and printed recycling programs within the province.

As a result of the deal, which expires in 2019, MMBC pays both the city and district money each year to continue curbside collection and provide public education on best recycling practices.

Charlotte Davis, the city’s manager of sanitation, recycling and public works administration, said the city received roughly $945,000 last year from MMBC.

The City of Nanaimo receives $35.25 per household per year from MMBC and since the deal was signed, user rates have dropped from $125.74 per household in 2013 to $100.75 in 2016.

“In terms of services or operational differences, nothing has really changed for us because we still use a contractor to collect the recycling and it is still taken to the same depot.”

The City of Nanaimo collected more than 3,300 tonnes of recycling from residents last year, according to Davis.

However, one of the requirements in switching over to MMBC was that residents are no longer allowed to place plastic bags into their recycling bins, which Davis said resulted in complaints by residents.

“When we went to MMBC the major disadvantage was that they asked us to take out the plastic bags from the yellow bags, so we can no longer accept grocery bags, and that we probably underestimated,” Davis said. “We still do [get complaints] and at the beginning it was a lot.”

Meanwhile, the situation and sentiment is similar at the Regional District of Nanaimo.

Ben Routledge, zero waste co-ordinator with the RDN said he is also pleased with how things have gone with MMBC, adding that the district’s contract expires in late 2018.

Routledge said there weren’t too many big changes because the district had a curbside collection program in place prior to signing the deal, adding that the district receives more than $900,000 from MMBC, which is then passed on to residents.

“We pass that forward to the residents of the district by lowering their utility bill by about $34 a year,” he said.