Prince Rupert and Port Edward residents will now have to recycle during operating hours only. (The Northern View/File photo)

Prince Rupert and Port Edward must say goodbye to their 24/7 recycling station

Residents will now have to recycle during operating hours only

Residents who failed to abide by the recycling depot’s collection rules have caused the transfer station to be shut down effective Oct. 20.

The regional recycling depot has also removed their four-hours of operation on Sunday indefinitely and replaced it with extended shifts on Saturdays now open from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The North Coast Regional District (NCRD) announced their decision to close the transfer station located at Kaien Road on Monday.

While the majority of residents drop-off recyclable material consistent with the collection programs, there are a number of users who continue to abandon waste materials such as household garbage, large scrap metal, auto-body parts, and sanitary and bio-hazardous waste at the transfer station, stated NCRD.

The abandonment of the extra waste materials posed a risk to both the equipment and employee safety.

READ MORE: Despite extended hours, North Coast recycling bins overflow

“Employee safety is paramount to us at the NCRD. While the decision to close the transfer station has been difficult, ultimately, we cannot, in good conscience, subject our employees to daily safety risks caused by reckless abandonment of waste materials,” Barry Pages, chair of the NCRD said.

Through the Regional Recycling Advisory Committee — established to advise on regional recycling services with members from the NCRD, the City of Prince Rupert, the District of Port Edward and local environmental representatives — the NCRD said they will continue to work with all stakeholders to bring residential curbside recycling to Prince Rupert.

“While the news of the transfer station closure is discouraging, the Regional Recycling Advisory Committee continues to work with the City of Prince Rupert, Recycle BC and other stakeholders to implement a successful curbside residential collection program for the community in the near future,” Des Nobels, chair of the Regional Recycling Advisory Committee, said.

On July 1 2016, the bins at the recycling depot in Prince Rupert were overflowing. (Katherine Spong photo)

The recycling transfer station opened to the public in Nov. 2014 with the intention of providing residents with 24/7 access to recycling material drop-off while increasing the volume of material collected and reducing collection costs.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert’s nine-year-old recycling kid

During the past five years the NCRD faced challenges with material overflow.

To address these issues, in 2016 the regional recycling depot’s hours of operation were expanded to include a four-hour shift on Sundays and on Boxing Day, while providing $15,000 in funding annually to accommodate the additional hours and the around-the-clock transfer station.

In addition to operational challenges, in 2014 provincial regulatory changes established Recycle BC, a not-for-profit organization that manages residential packaging and paper products in B.C.

Under the new regulatory framework, Recycle BC collects materials from local government partners which are ultimately sold to end markets and for processing into new products.

Under the Recycle BC program, residential packaging and printed products must be collected through residential curbside programs or through staff collection sites. Because the transfer station is not staffed it does not comply with current provincial regulation for collection of those materials.

“The NCRD would like to kindly remind residents not to abandon materials at the transfer station once it has been closed. The NCRD will continue to monitor abandonment issues at the closed transfer station site and will report violations to the RCMP to ensure that roadways and adjacent properties remain clean, and that residents abandoning waste materials are prosecuted accordingly,” stated the release.

READ MORE: Neighbourhood volunteers clear 1,500 kg of waste

Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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