Recycle BC will take over Peachland’s recycling services when the current contract with E360 Solutions (E360S) runs out, council decided last month.
Recycle BC is a stewardship program for residential packaging and paper products that is funded entirely by producers.
Through the existing partnership, E360S is contracted to collect recyclables while the RDCO provides education and administration.
The regional district has historically chosen to administer the program on Recycle BC’s behalf because the funding agreement covered all curbside recycling expenses and provided some surplus revenue that funded special recycling initiatives, according to RDCO manager of engineering services Travis Kendel.
However, under recent changes to this partnership, the District of Peachland is at risk of having to subsidize the program, as it now could face up to $60,000 per year in penalties for excess recycling contamination.
The current agreement with Recycle BC allows for a maximum contamination limit of three per cent. If contamination levels exceed the target it can result in “service level failure credits,” which are essentially fines.
In the last period reported, Peachland’s recycling contamination was at 15 per cent. In recent years it has ranged between nine and 22 per cent, well over the allowable three per cent limit.
“It’s true we’ve never had these service level failure credits levied on us. That said, they are starting to move in that direction, in my opinion,” director of operations Shawn Grundy told council at their last regular meeting. “We had to complete a contamination reduction plan late last year and what we had to do there is show what steps we’re taking to try to reduce that contamination. As we move forward, if we keep having contaminated recycling going to them, they’re not able to sell it for as much so they’re going to look to recover those costs elsewhere and it’s easy to do it when we already have an agreement in place.”
The shift to direct service will remove the financial risk existing in the current partnership, said Grundy in his report to council.
He also noted that the shift would likely result in an improvement of services through inclusion of curbside glass collection, and at a minimum, will result in the collection of the same materials at the same frequency as it is collected now.
The City of Kelowna, the City of West Kelowna and the regional district have already voted to accept the direct service model recommendation made to all RDCO member municipalities by the Solid Waste Technical Advisory Committee, a group of technical experts comprised of staff from the regional district and all member municipalities.
Peachland could choose to go it alone and stay with the existing service model but there would be reduced economies of scale for the collection of recycling, warned Grundy, and considering the size difference between Peachland and the other member municipalities of the RDCO, this will likely produce an overall increase in service expense.
At an earlier meeting RDCO staff said the switch would likely result in additional bins. However, Grundy noted that in their resolution Kelowna council included a request to encourage the use of a multi-stream cart system (ie: one blue recycling bin as opposed to several) and curbside glass collection.
“The way I look at it, as soon as Kelowna decided to do it, we were sort of left with no choice,” said Mayor Cindy Fortin.
“Why is there so much uncertainty about glass and whether it will be included or not?” asked Coun. Keith Fielding.
“One of the challenges that Recycle BC has is that once this request has gone out for direct service to Recycle BC they will spend a period of time doing a public procurement process to find a contractor to provide the service,” said Kendel. “If they commit up front to doing something, and the pricing comes back extremely expensive or unreasonable, effectively they don’t want to tie their hands to a service before they have the pricing in place.”
The switch to direct service from Recycle BC will take place on Apr. 30, 2026.