Semiahmoo Bottle Depot's Heimin Lee is frustrated by the Multi-Material BC recycling program

Semiahmoo Bottle Depot's Heimin Lee is frustrated by the Multi-Material BC recycling program

U.S. recyclables put South Surrey depot in bind

Mixed messages received over provincial program, says South Surrey businessman

A South Surrey businessman says confusion over Multi Material BC’s recycling rules is leaving him with mounds of glass and plastic that will end up in the garbage.

And Heimin Lee said he thinks it just might be the factor that pushes Semiahmoo Bottle Depot and others to opt out of the provincial government’s MMBC program.

“I’m really prepared for MMBC,” Lee told Peace Arch News. “But it’s not worth it.

“Lots of depot owners who (are) doing PPP (packaging and printed paper) may be going to drop out of MMBC.”

Lee said he only learned a few weeks ago – around the same time the new system launched – that plastic and glass beverage containers purchased south of the border will not be accepted.

In the months before the roll out, he says he was assured many times during conference calls that they would be included.

“I ask the same question every time we have a meeting… roughly 10 times,” Lee said, referring to the containers’ acceptability.

“They say yes, yes, yes,” Lee said.

He prepared his business, at 15515 24 Ave., by expanding the number of bays, adding new signage and passing that same message to his customers. They responded in kind, and now, 70-80 per cent of the beverage containers brought to the depot are from the U.S.

“Everybody was so happy… because we take almost everything,” he said.

“Now, I don’t know what to tell the customer. Because I don’t want to make my customers feel bad, I keep taking it. It’s so frustrating.

“They suddenly changed the word. So where do U.S. container go? Garbage.”

But MMBC managing director Allen Langdon said beverage containers in general are not part of the MMBC program, noting the problem with U.S. containers is not a new one.

It is “the one thing we’ve expressed concern about,” Langdon told PAN last week.

“Those are unstewarded containers and fees have not been paid on these containers.

“And so we’re in very much the same position. There’s material that’s unstewarded. Our operators couldn’t accept it. No one’s paying us to recycle this material.”

Collectors will do “ongoing sampling and auditing” to ensure pickups aren’t contaminated, he added.

Langdon said the possibility of depot operators opting out of MMBC is “probably an issue the closer you are to the border.”

“I think for most depots it won’t be an issue. I think most depots are finding that the fit with MMBC is good, and it’s an additional revenue stream. It’s another step towards that kind of one-stop-drop.”

MMBC launched May 19 to meet the provincial mandate that firms that distribute packaging waste pay the costs of recycling it, but it has faced a backlash over high fees and lack of accountability from some companies.

Lee – who,  last month, was bombarded by people dumping their garbage due to job action by City of White Rock employees – maintains the U.S. issue needs to be addressed.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A sign posted to a tree in Maccaud Park urges people to email White Rock City Council and oppose the construction of pickleball courts in the park. (Contributed photo)
White Rock council deems Maccaud Park pickleball courts out of bounds

Unanimous vote against constructing courts follows public feedback

Surrey city council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey drugstores seeking relaxation of spacing rules ‘a challenge,’ councillor says

‘Obviously we need pharmacies but it seems to me that we are getting an awful lot of applications,’ Brenda Locke says

Shannon Claypool, president of the Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition Association, stands outside the Cloverdale Rec. Centre. The rec. centre has been set up as a mass vaccination site by Fraser Health and the Association has decided to cancel the rodeo in order to offer the fairgrounds for public parking. (Submitted)
Cloverdale Rodeo cancelled

Fairgrounds to be used as public parking for mass vaccination site at Cloverdale Rec. Centre

News Bulletin file photo
Surrey waives outdoor patio fees for pubs, restaurants

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, praised the move

(file photo)
Racial comments directed at child at Surrey grocery store, police say

Investigation ‘ongoing as officers work on gathering additional evidence’

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Looking east at the Cascade Range with the potential Alpine Village site in the foreground. Mt. Archibald rises on the left.
Ambitious all-season mountain resort proposed near Chilliwack

Proponents say Bridal Veil Mountain Resort could cover 11,500 acres bring in $252 million a year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Most Read