Dumped items at CSWM Depot in 2019

CSWM Depot Closures

Two Unstaffed Recycling Depots in Courtenay and Campbell River Now Closed

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) unstaffed recycling depots located at Campbell River’s Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex and the Courtenay Country Market are now permanently closed, effective July 1, 2020.

There are excellent alternative options for recycling in these communities, and residents are encouraged to instead utilize their municipal curbside recycling service for those who have access, or to drop off recyclables at one of the local Return-It depots or at either of the waste management centres in the region. These facilities are all supported by Recycle BC and accept any materials that can be recycled curbside, as well as glass, plastic bags, outer wrap and foam packaging.

“We want to uphold a great standard for recycling in our area, and these unstaffed depots were targets for illegal dumping that just don’t reflect the standard of service that we would like to see with our waste management service,” said Marc Rutten, General Manager of Engineering Services. “Thankfully, there are a number of Recycle BC supported options in our communities that allows us to recycle more items, more effectively.”

These Recycle BC supported locations include Return-It depots at 1580 Willow St., Campbell River; 493 Puntledge Road, Courtenay; 678 Anderton Road. Comox; as well as the Campbell River and Comox Valley Waste Management Centres.

While the unstaffed CSWM depots do not accept glass, plastic bags, outer wrap or foam packaging, these items can all be sorted at the Return-It depots and both waste management centres in the region. Not only do these locations accept more streams of recyclable materials as part of the Recycle BC program, normal practice is for monitoring to occur during the recycling process. Staff are present to observe and correct sorting errors, and educate the public. By using these programs, residents ensure that their material is actually recycled and will therefore be diverting a larger volume of material than if continuing to use the CSWM depots. For depot locations near you visit: www.cswm.ca/depots.

Residents within municipal boundaries have even more options for recycling thanks to curbside collection. Through previous customer surveys, the CSWM learned that the vast majority of users of the CSWM depots live within municipal boundaries and have access to full, unlimited curbside recycling collection, which includes all of the same materials accepted at the existing CSWM depots.

These unstaffed depots experienced a high level of contamination of otherwise recyclable materials. Of the approximately 1,800 tonnes of material collected from the CSWM depots in 2018, 18 per cent was contaminated with garbage, including household and commercial garbage, furniture, lightbulbs, appliances, yard waste, dog feces, fish guts, motor oil and paint. This high level of contamination not only meant that a large portion of otherwise recyclable materials could no longer be recycled and ends up in the landfill, but it also created a safety issue for people who use the site and the staff that have to manage the contaminated waste. More frequent pickups at these facilities would not solve the problem of high levels of contamination.


Large unacceptable items contaminating the Canex Store CSWM Depot in Comox. Photos taken in 2019.
 
Soft plastics contaminating the Canex Store CSWM depot in Comox, taken in 2019.

Contaminated bins at the Courtenay Country Market CSWM depot, taken in 2019.

Related Staff Reports

CSWM Depot Staff Report - February 13, 2020 Update

CSWM Depot Staff Report - November 14, 2019 Update

The CSWM Board approved the closure of four unstaffed recycling depots within the CSWM service area. The depots located at Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex and Courtenay Country Market are now permanently closed, and the Campbell River Sportsplex and Canex Retail Store depots will close effective July 2021. The two remaining CSWM depots (Quadra Island and Oyster River) will remain open as they are rural and provide the only local option for recycling in those areas.