Summerland’s blue bag recycling regulations have changed and as a result, some items which had been accepted for curbside recycling in the past will be left behind.
Don Darling, director of engineer and public works for the municipality, said the regulation changes are the result of the Multi-Material British Columbia recycling program, which took effect in May.
Milk cartons and plastic clamshell food packages are allowed in the blue bags under the new regulations, but plastic grocery bags and clear plastic wrap is not allowed.
Although the milk cartons and clamshell packages had not been allowed in the past, some had been including them with their recyclable materials.
Plastic bags and plastic wrap can be recycled, but not through the curbside pickup service.
“These can be recycled at the landfill, but they can’t be put into the blue bags,” Darling said.
He added that the new recyclable collection regulations, which took effect last week, are mandated by the province and cannot be adjusted by individual communities.
Information about the new recycling changes has been distributed to Summerland residents. It is also available on the municipality’s website at summerland.ca.
Mayor Janice Perrino said the exclusion of plastic bags will be an inconvenience for many Summerlanders.
“For many of us, the bulk of our recyclables is soft plastics,” she said. “This is the most inconvenient system. We have to find ways to make it more convenient.”
Darling said the biggest change will be with the plastic bags, film and wrap.
He said municipal representatives will meet with officials from Green By Now to see if there is another way to keep plastic bags from ending up in the landfill.
Perrino said municipal council and staff are considering ways to accommodate plastic bag recycling.
One idea which has been proposed would involve strategic sites in the core of the community where residents could drop off their plastic bags.
Adding a staffed recycling depot downtown is not an option, she added.
“The idea of this was to save us money, not to cost us money,” she said.