The new Eco-depot and transfer station being planned for the Ashcroft/Cache Creek area will be similar to this one at 70 Mile, and accept more materials than the current site at the old landfill. Photo: TNRD.

The new Eco-depot and transfer station being planned for the Ashcroft/Cache Creek area will be similar to this one at 70 Mile, and accept more materials than the current site at the old landfill. Photo: TNRD.

TNRD recycling workshop answers a lot of questions

Residents learned about changes to recycling, a planned new Eco-depot in the area, and more

Representatives from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) were in area communities over the last two weeks, explaining the TNRD recycling program and recent changes to it.

Andrew Roebbelen, the TNRD’s waste reduction coordinator, and Jamie Vieira—manager of environmental health fir the TNRD—were at the Ashcroft Library on Dec. 4, and 21 people were there to learn more about recycling and upcoming changes to the program. Roebbelen and Vieira discussed the recycling options in the community, gave an overview of recent changes, explained the six categories of recycled materials now accepted, gave some recycling tips, and answered questions.

Roebbelen said that the TNRD realizes that the current transfer station being used for recycling by Ashcroft and Cache Creek is an older one and that the site is not ideal. “We have a new Eco-depot in the works, which will have a scale,” said Roebbelen. “We’re still looking for a location, which we hope will be in the middle [along Highway 97C or Highway 1] between Ashcroft and Cache Creek.”

The new Eco-depot, he added, will be easily accessible and right off the highway. The TNRD wants to have it open by the fall of 2019. “We haven’t purchased a property yet, but we have a few irons in the fire. When the new Eco-depot opens, the current transfer station site will close.”

He explained that recent changes to the TNRD recycling program were made in large part because early in 2018 China, which accepted much of North America’s recycling, began clamping down on contaminated recycling. “Unmanned bins get non-recyclable items dumped in them.”

Vieira said that within the TNRD, Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Chase, and Merritt had recycling stations that could not conform to the new standards. “There was no way to make them conform. In 2018, global recycling changed because China changed its policies. They finally put their foot down. What we thought was good recycling was ending up as garbage.

“In February 2018 the firm that took our mixed recycling said ‘No more.’ We had to stockpile all our recycling. We had nowhere to send it.” He added that he wished that the new Eco-depot could have been built before the old recycling depots had to close.

“I know the frustration, and I empathize. If we’d had a crystal ball, we would have had the new Eco-depot built before the old [recycling stations] closed. Right now we have a location, but it’s not a good one, so we’re not building up there.”

The TNRD also joined Recycle BC, a not-for-profit organization responsible for recycling residential packaging and paper, but not for recycling products. “Recycle BC ensures that materials are collected and sorted, then responsibly recycled,” explained Roebbelen. “It’s funded by the businesses that supply the packaging and paper, not by taxpayers.”

He also explained the difference between products and packaging, saying that even if a plastic toy was stamped as being recyclable, it cannot be accepted by Recycle BC; only the box in which it came (the packaging) could be. Roebbelen then gave an overview of the six categories of recyclable materials that can be accepted: paper; containers; plastic bags/overwrap; foam containers (white and coloured); and glass.

The key, he stressed, was to make sure that the materials were clean. Napkins and tissues are not recyclable, even though they are made of paper: partly because they are a product, and partly because they aren’t clean. Pizza boxes are made of cardboard, which is recyclable, but if the box is stained with oil, cheese, or sauce, it is contaminated, as those materials cannot be separated from the cardboard (and a contaminated item will contaminate other items it’s mixed with). A solution, he said, can be to recycle the lid of the pizza box, if it’s clean, and throw the rest away.

Roebbelen said that while items should be clean, residents need to use their judgment. “Give things a rinse. If you can’t get it clean, then it’s better to throw it in the garbage.” He added that people often ask about using water—a precious natural resource—to clean things for recycling. “Using a little bit of water to clean something [so it can be recycled] is better than it going into a landfill forever.”

He added that people can leave labels and lids on items that are to be recycled.

Books cannot currently be recycled, although items such as magazines and phone books can. “Recycle BC won’t take books, as they’re a product that isn’t being paid for [to Recycle BC]. But the TNRD is looking at options for recycling books,” said Roebbelen.

He admitted that plastic bags and overwrap were his least favourite category to explain. Basically, if the bag or overwrap has a “stretch” to it when pulled, no matter how difficult—bread bags, grocery bags, bags that salt for snow, or that wood pellets, comes in—it can be recycled.

He added, however, that in 2019 a new category that would cover items such as potato chip bags, Ziploc bags, granola and chocolate bar wrappers, mesh bags such as those for onions, and more will be introduced.

Tin foil is accepted if clean; even though it is a product, it is also used in containers for the take-out food industry (packaging). Foam containers need to be separated according to colour, since white foam can be recycled into more items. As for foam packaging, such as “packing peanuts” and the packaging that comes around electronics like TVs or computers, Roebbelen explained that if it breaks when twisted, it’s fine; if it is squishy or can be twisted without breaking, it isn’t.

Glass jars are accepted (if they’re clean), but light bulbs are not, although Roebbelen added that the TNRD will be rolling out a light bulb recycling program.

He said that people shouldn’’t think they need six separate recycling bins at home. “Most people mostly have paper and containers. Do what works for you.” He said that he knew of one person who puts all their recycling in one bin, then spends 20 minutes at the recycling depot sorting it out and chatting with the attendant, while another person he knows of has six different bins at home, to teach their children about recycling.

“We have six categories and one goal: less waste.”

Pamphlets about the TNRD recycling program are available at the Ashcroft Bakery, the Ashcroft and Cache Creek Libraries, and at the transfer station; you can also find out more online at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read