Glass and film plastics will no longer be accepted curbside because they cause problems during processing of recycled material.                                File photo

Glass and film plastics will no longer be accepted curbside because they cause problems during processing of recycled material. File photo

Complaints heard about new Abbotsford recycling program

No pickup of glass and plastic a barrier for seniors: councillor

Changes to how Abbotsford residents recycle kicked in last week, and one Abbotsford councillor says she has heard complaints from some people about glass and film plastic no longer being accepted curbside.

The changes, which came into effect at the start of April, came after the city joined the provincewide Multi-Material BC program, which is funded by businesses that supply packaging and printed paper. The program sees the city collect about $1 million in revenue, but has resulted in changes about what, and where, certain recyclables are collected.

Glass, along with thin plastics like shopping bags, bread bags and plastic wrap can’t be placed in curbside bags, but instead must be taken to a depot. Such depots now accept a longer list of recyclable material, including styrofoam, light bulbs, electronics and batteries.

Glass frequently contaminates other recyclables, while film plastics can cause problems with equipment, council heard.

Ross said she has heard complaints about people who find having to drive glass and film plastics to a depot is cumbersome, if not impossible, particularly for seniors.

“I’m hearing from a lot of older people who can’t drive,” she said. “They’re proud of their recycling efforts and they want to recycle as much as they can.”

Changes could also deter younger people from recycling, according to Mackenzie Byers, who was one of eight youth councillors from the Abbotsford Youth Commission who joined Abbotsford city politicians around the council table Monday.

Byers said many youth don’t drive, and even those who do might not take the extra step to recycle.

“I can’t see the younger generation taking it down to the depot,” she said.

Ross expressed hope that the Fraser Valley Regional District’s ambition to build an advance recycling facility could address some of the issues.

Coun. Sandy Blue suggested the city look to other communities who have been participating in the program for years, while Coun. Dave Loewen suggested getting the participation of local grocery stores could help address the issue.

The discussion came as council unanimously agreed to amend its solid waste collection bylaw to align with the new program.

A garbage audit, to evaluate how much recycling material Abbotsford residents are throwing out, is planned for later this year.