Blue-box recyclables no longer accepted at local Bottle Depots

Victoria’s Bottle Depots have announced they will no longer accept blue-box material, forcing recycle-bound citizens to go elsewhere beginning Monday.

Kelly Gorman, Bottle Depot general manager, said the move is a business decision. Bottle Depot was not being paid enough to collect, sort and bundle for transport blue-box material, such as mixed paper, plastic yogurt tubs, jam or pickle jars.

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A statement on Bottle Depot’s website urges customers who want more information to contact the B.C. Ministry of Environment, supplying the telephone number to the environment minister’s office.

“We feel [government] are the ones that can make the change,” she said.

Gorman said Bottle Depot will stick to drink containers that carry a refundable deposit, such as pop bottles or beer cans. Electronics and small appliances will also be accepted at its three locations, 4261 Glanford Ave. and 3961 Quadra St. in Saanich and 655 Queens Ave. in Victoria.

She said most customers who bring in blue-box materials live in multi-family complexes, such as condo buildings not served by a municipal blue-box program and whose property managers have made no arrangement of their own.

According to the Capital Regional District, citizens who bring in their own recyclables can now go to Island Return-It Esquimalt, 935 Ellery St., Island Return-It Sidney, 10025 Galaran Rd, and Hartland Recycling Depot.

London Drugs is accepting some plastics and Styrofoam at its four Victoria locations and Oak Bay Public Works, 1771 Elgin Rd, is open to Oak Bay residents to drop off blue-box material.

For the past five years, Bottle Depot had an agreement with Recycle B.C. a non-profit industry stewardship program, to collect and recycle paper and other packaging material. The B.C. government oversees the organization’s plans and performance, but doesn’t fund it.

David Lefebvre, spokesman for Recycle B.C., said the decision by Bottle Depot to end its service is a local business decision.

Lefebvre said the organization last year tripled its rates for collecting, sorting and packaging some material and quadrupled its rates for others material. It will be reviewing its fees again within the year, he said.

He defended Recycle B.C.’s costing, noting the organization has collection arrangements with 210 depots across the province. All of them are being paid the same rates for the same materials.

“These are all independent businesses,” he said, “and they all can choose whether to participate in Recycle B.C.’s program or not.”

rwatts@timescolonist.com

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