City, private operators raise recycling awareness in absence of NRE

By Ian Holmes
April 6, 2018 - 3:00pm

There is confusion among some people in Nanaimo on where to take recyclables since the Nanaimo Recycing Exchange shut down.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

Several private operators are now accepting items formally accepted by the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — If you can't put it out at the curb, where do you take it?

It's a question many people in the harbour city are asking since the non-profit Nanaimo Recycing Exchange (NRE) closed down, according to the City's Charlotte Davis.

Davis, manager of sanitation, recycling and public works, reported an increased number of inquires coming in from people confused about where non-curbside recyclables go.

“Lots of people had used the NRE and only the NRE to recycle all of their things.”

Davis said the one-stop service provided by the NRE was “very valuable” and its closure caused challenges for some people who are creatures of habit.

She believed the NRE's departure would create a “mountain to climb” but believed over time people would adjust accordingly to ensure the mid-island region maintains its status as a provincial leader in waste diversion.

Davis said people reaching out to the City are surprised to hear the same items accepted by the NRE are taken by several for-profit operators in the region.

“I do hear a lot of our residents are really wanting to know 'Where can I take this, where can I take this.' I see our residents putting in the effort to find out where they can recycle and hopefully changing their habits accordingly.”

Davis said the City has a “Waste Wizard” search engine on their website, where people can type in the item they are trying to get rid of and be given options. She said the City's Nanaimo Recycles app provides the same information.

Craig Cookman, general manager of Milner Group, which operates a depot, told NanaimoNewsNOW private operators are now forming a comprehensive region-wide marketing campaign.

“It's a big responsibility and we don't want people to think there aren't other options,” he said.

Cookman said while people appreciated the one-stop convenience offered by the NRE, the most stops people would now have to make to unload a variety of items is two.

The NRE is on life-support awaiting an answer to a $6.05 million funding request to the City of Nanaimo to fund construction of a new depot on NRE-owned land on Kenworth Rd.

Their previous location next door closed in late March after the lease expired.


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