If all goes well a second pop-up recycling depot will take place in Peachland later this year following the success of the recent first-time event that attracted over 150 participants.
Glass, foam packaging and other flexible plastics are not allowed in the curbside collection cart program so Peachland residents typically must travel to the nearest depots in West Kelowna to properly recycle these items.
The pop-up event offered residents a local opportunity to return electronics, glass bottles, jars, foam packaging, plastic bags and overwrap, and other flexible plastic packaging, such as crinkly wrappers, stand up pouches and zipper bags.
Regional waste facilitator Rae Stewart told the View they received good feedback from residents that this is a required and appreciated service.
At their last regular meeting RDCO manager of engineering services Travis Kendel told council the Peachland pop-up event attracted 167 participants and 12 super sacks of material were collected.
Peachland residents filled nine super sacks full of paper, plastics, glass, and styrofoam and three super sacks full of electronics.
“Based on the feedback we’ve gotten so far, we consider it to be a success,” said Kendel. “We’re already planning another pop-up for later this year.”
Kendel also provided an update on the regional district’s solid waste management plan (SWMP), which is a mandated responsibility to the regional district by the Provincial Environmental Management Act.
When the program began in 2017 the regional district was generating 681 kg of waste per person. After a drop down to 636 kg in 2020, waste rose last year to 662 kg per person, which Kendel attributed to increased building permit values, housing starts and business licenses.
The region generates about 1,500 kg of waste per person per year, he said. About two-thirds of that is diverted with about one-third (662 kg) ending up in a landfill or otherwise disposed of.
A significant portion of the waste is the result of recycling ending up in the wrong container, Kendel told council.
“Approximately 15 per cent of waste in our region across all sectors already has a well-established diversion program available at curbside or at commercial entities,” said Kendel. “The material is just ending up in the wrong location.”
To address these issues, they’ve increased recycling education in the community and have doubled the presence of waste ambassadors checking carts and providing education.
A similar sized portion, or about 15 per cent of the regional district’s waste stream, is coming from depot only materials.
“This is a flag to our waste reduction office that these materials could be diverted through improved education and improved access to recycling of those materials,” said Kendel.
As a first step, they’ve developed the new pop-up depot program to improve regional access, which debuted in Peachland on May 7 at the community centre parking lot.
“Looking forward to more,” said Stewart.