Residents in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) can now recycle "other flexible plastic packaging" at all TNRD eco-depots and transfer stations.
This specific type of packaging includes items like potato chip bags, standup pouches and net bags from produce — basically anything that contains a bunch of thin layers of plastic or foil sandwiched together.
Andrew Roebbelen, the TNRD's waste reduction coordinator, says flexible plastic packaging is one of the fastest growing packaging types on the market and the largest category of packaging that was previously not collected.
"I've started diverting this material myself and I'm probably ending up with three or four grocery bags full every week," he tells Kamloops Matters. "So much of the kids' stuff seems to come in this type of packaging, even wipe bags."
Roebbelen couldn't say how much of this plastic is currently in the TNRD's waste stream or how much of an impact expanding the recycling program will have.
"It really depends on people's uptake of it," he says. "I expect it to start slow and pick up over the next couple of years as people get used to the new category and realize they can reduce the amount (of plastic) going to the landfill."
Residents can bring many common packaging types not previously accepted, such as:
- Crinkly wrappers and bags (i.e. chip bags, pasta bags, cereal bags, coffee bags, snack and granola bar wrappers);
- Zipper lock and standup pouches (i.e. flexible soap refills, frozen fruit and vegetable bags, zippered produce bags);
- Non-food protective packaging (i.e. bubble wrap, bubble mailers);
- Flexible packaging with plastic seal (i.e. pre-sliced meat and cheese packages); and
- Woven plastic bags (i.e onion and avocado bags).
Roebbelen adds materials will not be accepted in curbside or multi-family recycling.
Asked what will happen with the plastic packaging once it's in the TNRD's hands, he says some of it will be recovered and recycled, and some will be turned into engineered fuel.
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