Cardboard ban takes effect next month

Find out what the options are for residents and local businesses.

Last year the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) announced that a region-wide cardboard ban would be in effect starting July 1, 2016.

Beginning July 1, cardboard will no longer be accepted for disposal as garbage at any RDBN solid waste management facility including landfill or transfer station.

The ban will apply equally to all residents, businesses, municipalities, industries and institutions including educational facilities and hospitals.

After the ban is in effect, local businesses will have the option of dropping off cardboard at the Burns Lake Recycling Depot for a fee.

Chris Beach, owner of the Burns Lake Recycling Depot, said this will be a pilot project and that prices are subject to change.

Business owners will also have the option of hiring the services of private contractors such as Westbin Waste and Waste Management Inc.

Beach said his services will be for those businesses or institutions that for whatever reason don’t want to have a cardboard bin on their premisses.

Residential cardboard will not be affected by the ban and drop-off at the Recycling Depot will remain free.

According to the RDBN, the overall intent of the ban is to minimize the amount of waste that is ultimately landfilled, as waste reduction is a priority of the RDBN board of directors.

Bill Miller, Director of Electoral Area B, explained that cardboard, although not heavy, constitutes a “very high volume” for RDBN’s landfills. He added that when cardboard degrades in the landfills, it produces methane, which has significant more impact than carbon dioxide.

Last year the Village of Burns Lake explored different options to offload commercial and residential cardboard after the cardboard ban is in effect.

In December of 2015, council decided to not implement a commercial cardboard recycling program in 2016.

In order to make this decision, council took into account results of a public engagement process. When residents and businesses were asked what their preferences were for cardboard disposal options, both residents and businesses indicated they would prefer to dispose of cardboard by taking it to the Recycling Depot themselves rather than hiring a contractor or paying the village.

According to a village staff report, if Burns Lake were to implement a commercial cardboard recycling program, the village could be risking a financial loss. According to the report, there could be many small businesses that would opt out of the program.

“If too many businesses opt out of the program, the municipality runs the risk of a loss.”