Home Sections Disposal & Recycling Large volumes & staff shortages see curbside recycling pickup losing pace

Large volumes & staff shortages see curbside recycling pickup losing pace

You can leave out blue boxes for a 2nd day.

bluebox, curbside, evening
If curbside pickup of bluebox materials has not happened by 9 pm, householders may leave the boxes out for next-day pickup, says CRD. [Island Social Trends]

Monday February 6, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated February 19, 2023]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

If this was your curbside recycling bluebox pickup day and your materials are still not picked up by 9 pm this evening, CRD says you can leave them out for trucks to pick up on the next day.

As was the case in January, curbside recycling collection across the Capital Regional District (CRD) continues to face service delays with higher-than-normal material volumes and staffing challenges.

night, curbside, blue box
Night time curbside pickup of blue box recyclables by CRD/Emterra trucks, Jan 24, 2022. [Island Social Trends]

As stated in a CRD news release today: “Emterra, the contractor responsible for collecting curbside paper and packaging material on the CRD’s behalf, is making best efforts to complete scheduled routes between 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. each day but a combination of both material volumes at the curb and staff shortages have led to additional service disruptions in some areas.” 

Blue box materials that have not been picked up from the curb by 9:00 p.m. on a scheduled collection day should be left at the curb for one additional day. Any items not collected by the second day should be retained for the next scheduled collection day.

No limit on amount of material:

“There is no limit to how much material can be placed at the curb,” says CRD.

If you’re unable to hold onto materials until the next collection day (collection days are two weeks apart), residents can return their paper, cardboard and mixed containers to a recycling depot at no charge. For a list of participating depots, see www.crd.bc.ca/curbside.

Increasing service levels:

The CRD is exploring options to immediately increase service levels with additional third party collection resources and it is anticipated that the increased collection capacity, along with Emterra’s work to stabilize their operations, will result in substantial improvements in curbside service delivery, said CRD today.

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“As the CRD works with Emterra and additional collection resources to improve blue box service, residents can continue to expect collection delays in the short term. The CRD understands the impact these ongoing service disruptions have had on residents and appreciates their patience as we work to return the blue box program to normal service levels as quickly as possible.”

The importance of regular pickups:

Recycling that falls behind schedule can lead to community mess (particularly on windy days), longer opportunities for junk scavengers around neighbourhoods (especially at night), increased pestilence (if unclean materials sit around for too long), and perhaps also household recycling compliance malaise (due to irregularity of the pickup schedule).  

Communication and alerts:

The CRD says they are committed to communicating potential delays as soon as they’re known via the CRD website and blue box collection reminder system.

For updates, please visit www.crd.bc.ca/alerts and follow us on Twitter @crd_bc

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West shore routes:

Monday/Tuesday pickup routes are primarily in Sooke, Langford and Colwood, in the Greater Victoria westshore area.

There are no snow or rain impositions this week. But there is a backlog of materials from the end of December due to cancellations caused by winter weather conditions. This is adding to how much material is left at the curbside for pickup.

No soft plastics at the curbside:

It seems, also, that people are mistakenly putting out soft plastics and other materials that should be taken to recycling depots (not left at the curbside).

Recently there was some TV news coverage that mistakenly indicated that soft plastics could be left in the curbside blueboxes, so this very likely contributed to the confusion.

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mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends emerged in mid-2020 from a preceding series of publications by founder/editor Mary P Brooke and published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc, covering news of the Vancouver Island region, BC and national issues through a socioeconomic lens.

The publication series began with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then morphed to a weekly print newspaper Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and then into the weekly PDF/print West Shore Voice News (2014-2020). The news at IslandSocialTrends.ca (2020 to present) is entirely online.