In a bid to divert recyclable material from landfills, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District will ban the dumping of corrugated cardboard, the type of cardboard commonplace in packaging, including at Kamloops landfills.
TNRD environmental services manager Jamie Vieira explained the goal of the new mandatory recyclable materials bylaw is to prevent easily recyclable materials from going into the landfill. Some businesses, for example, toss cardboard into large garbage bins on their properties and it ultimately ends up in the landfill.
Vieira said businesses in Kamloops can pay private companies for commercial recycling collection.
“It should be recycled,” Vieira said. “The vast majority of people are already recycling cardboard, but we still see some loads that have large quantities of cardboard in it.”
Vieira said a ban at the landfill is the last step in waste diversion. He said incentives have already been used and this ban is targeting the last contingent of people who still are not taking steps to recycle. Vieira said similar bans are in place in other regional districts, including in the Okanagan and Vancouver.
Corrugated cardboard is the first recyclable product to be banned in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
Vieira said it was targeted for its frequency of disposal and ease of recycling.
“It’s the typical packaging Amazon boxes come in,” he said. “Any kind of shipping- and receiving- type cardboard boxes.”
Vieira said it is unclear as to how much of the product has been ending up in landfills. A waste audit undertaken this year is expected to provide such data. He said the ban is based on the fact staff on a daily basis observe some loads with high quantities of cardboard that could be diverted.
The bylaw will not be enforced until Jan. 1. 2022, with education the focus in the coming months, leading to penalties later.
Vieira said inspectors will float throughout the region enforcing fines, similar to a parking ticket authority. Inspectors will not open garbage bags and there is a bit of leniency, with a 10 per cent threshold.
Visual assessments will occur. If an inspector is standing away from a vehicle and sees a bunch of cardboard, that is the type of instance when enforcement would occur.
“The ban does apply to all customers, but we’ve been making sure to mention the intent here is to target large loads,” Vieira said. “We’re not breaking open individual garbage bags and searching for a scrap of cardboard to give someone a fine.”
Fines for improper disposal will be 50 per cent of the applicable disposal fee, with a minimum penalty of $40, but reduced for early payment and increased for late payment. Obstruction of an inspector will result in a $300 fine. The regional district expects the program to cost $90,000 through 2023.
Vieira said the regional district’s solid waste management plan aims to reduce waste generation per capita to 500 kilograms per person per year. At this point, the regional district remains at more than 600 kilograms of waste per person.
Vieira said more product bans are expected in the future, with other regional districts having banned household recycling, such as newspapers, boxboard, plastic containers, glass jars and other materials.
“This is definitely a key piece and we’re expecting to take a big stride toward reducing that waste generation,” he said.