RDKB wins $10,000 award

A product stewardship program that diverts small electrical appliances and tools from RDKB landfills has taken top honours.

Tim Dueck

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary took first place and won a $10,000 ElectroRecycle Civic Award in recognition of their achievements in recycling. More correctly, as RDKB General Manager of Environmental Services Alan Stanley put it, “The residents of the regional district themselves have won the award.”

“The regional district received the award but really it was the ElectroRecycle folks who put the program together and the residents themselves who responded to it,” clarified Stanley in a telephone interview with the Times on Tuesday afternoon. “About all that we did was try not to take the stuff at our landfills.”

ElectroRecycle is a non-profit program funded by a recycling fee applied to new electrical products such as small appliances, power tools, and exercise machines brought into B.C. by small appliance manufacturers and retailers. Similar product stewardship programs exist for other merchandise such as oil and compact fluorescent light bulbs where manufacturers must plan for, and if necessary, pay for the recycling or disposal of the product at the end of its useful life.

Stanley noted that the regional district’s policy toward stewardship material is that these programs exist under an approved plan between the province and industry. “Our approach has always been that we don’t manage it,” explained Stanley. “Some of the other jurisdictions try to put up depots in their facilities and stuff but we’ve always said that no – you guys have this program, you should put it in play and we won’t manage it any longer.”

That approach came up with the highest per household diversion rates in the province and, interestingly, the second highest diversion rate in the province went to the Regional District of Nanaimo where they take the exact same approach.

Stanley said the $10,000 would be used in the public education budget.

Per household in 2012, Kootenay Boundary residents collected 2.35 kgs.; Nanaimo residents collected 2.11 kgs.

Districts were selected based on 2012 per household recycling rates, as well as efforts made in supporting and promoting the ElectroRecycle program.

ElectroRecycle was launched to meet a recycling mandate from the provincial Ministry of the Environment. It is the first recycling program of its kind in Canada, and the only government- approved recycling program in B.C. for electrical appliances. To find out more about ElectroRecycle and where to recycle your small appliances and power tools, visit electrorecycle.ca

“All it comes down to is our residents choosing to do the right thing,” said Stanley. “The real winner is not the RDKB but the residents who are using the depot.”