City of Vancouver Turns Recycling Over to MMBC

Connector Fall 2016

The City of Vancouver’s recycling collectors have handed their jobs over to Multi-Material BC. The non-profit industry association will take responsibility for the work in an arrangement city staff say will save cash and leave the city looking cleaner than ever. There won’t be any noticeable change in recycling pickup and no jobs will be lost in the handover either, said Jerry Dobrovolny, the city’s general manager of engineering.

Rather than turn in their gloves, most of the city’s recycling collectors will be tasked with cleaning up the overflowing garbage cans and abandoned trash that have tarnished Vancouver’s sheen in recent years. The extra staff will be part of a roughly $2 million additional annual investment in street cleanliness, Dobrovolny said. That push comes in the midst of increased 311 calls about Vancouver’s public realm cleanliness issues.

In November 2015, city staff went to councillors with a solution: get out of the recycling collection business and focus on street hygiene.

staff report offered some useful background: MMBC is financed by the companies that produce – and are responsible for collecting – printed paper and packaging. While Vancouver has had a contract with MMBC for more than two years, city employees had been collecting the materials that whole time.

In trade for continuing to pick up the materials, the city received a financial incentive from MMBC. But it wasn’t enough to cover expenses and the city was coming up $4.1 million short each year, according to the staff report.

The city gave notice last winter that it would divest its collection role to MMBC and the new arrangement started Oct. 3. Many residents will notice no difference, Dobrovolny said.

“The only change people will see – or not see depending if they’re home – is a different truck will come and pick up their recycling.”

Keen-eyed residents may notice their utility fees get lighter. The city had covered its shortfall by charging recycling utility rates of about $13-18 per household. Ratepayers will no longer pay that charge, according to the city.

Sources: The Province / Postmedia