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Trashed: Vernon garbage full of cardboard

Waste composition study found cardboard was one of the most frequently found items in landfill
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The Regional District of North Okanagan is reminding residents that cardboard doesn’t belong in the garbage after a waste composition study in 2021 and 2022 found that cardboard was one of the most frequently found items in garbage. (Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye photo)

Cardboard is one of the most frequently found items at the local landfill.

The shocking statistic comes from a waste composition study completed at the Greater Vernon Diversion and Disposal Facility in 2021 and 2022, accounting for four per cent of the total waste disposed.

“While four per cent may not sound like a large number, it amounts to millions of kilograms of material annually,” said the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO).

As cardboard is easily divertable and recyclable, RDNO is reminding the community to take steps to keep cardboard out of the garbage.

Businesses and multi-family residential buildings can obtain cardboard or mixed recyclables bins through a private waste collection service provider. Multi-family buildings also have the option of receiving service through the Recycle BC program.

Most single-family households in the RDNO are served by the Recycle BC curbside collection program and have convenient access to curbside recycling for a wide range of residential packaging and paper products, including cardboard.

Recycle BC depots accept paper and packaging materials as well.

When recycling cardboard, residents are reminded to flatten it. This helps reduce the volume it takes up in the collection vehicle, resulting in less fuel used to collect and transport cardboard. For residential curbside collection, if flattened cardboard boxes do not fit in the blue box, Recycle BC advises that neatly stacking them beside the blue box is an option.

“Flattening cardboard also ensures other materials like packing foam and other plastic products do not end up mixed with the cardboard, which increases contamination and reduces the potential for the cardboard to be recycled,” the RDNO advises.

Heavily soiled or contaminated cardboard cannot be recycled. In cases where cardboard has food residue on it, it can be composted, such as through curbside food scraps collection programs or commercial compost bins.

“It is important to keep plastic-lined paper, tape or other plastic out of compost to prevent plastic from being released in the environment.”

Reducing the amount of cardboard in landfills provides a number of benefits. In addition to reducing waste, it keeps more organic materials out of landfills which can produce methane — a greenhouse gas. Also, reducing, reusing and recycling cardboard conserves valuable natural resources.

Businesses and multi-family dwellings in need of recycling collection services for cardboard are encouraged to contact a waste hauler for service. The Recycle BC program provides residential recycling curbside and depot collection programs. More information about this program can be found at https://recyclebc.ca/north-okanagan/.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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