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Remi Jean stepped up to the Kitimat City Council Meeting on June 4th to talk about ideas for Recycling in Kitimat.
“I have sort of a weird hobby. I like to go to recycling centres and sites where they have refuge sites. We don’t do enough here to call ourselves a recycling community. I’ve been to some communities where you don’t have a choice but to recycle,” said Jean.
He explained in Langley, they have boxes where people divide up their material into glass, metal, paper and wood. A vehicle picks them up and the refuge site has been cut down to 22% in the first year, now it’s 85%.
Jean also stated there was a week in some towns called Giveaway Week. If people have items they do not want which are too good to throw away, they are put at the end of the sidewalk. People come around, take what they need and at the end of the week, a truck comes and takes it to the refuge site.
His next point was on the plastic bags in grocery stores. Kitimat worked hard to get rid of plastic bags in stores. However, all the green bag project accomplished was now people pay for bags.
Jean did commend the refuge site for the work they do in getting people to recycle. “We as a community should be doing that too, make it a bit easier for him and get organized as far as recycling is concerned,” Said Jean.
He is angry that people are not allowed to scrounge at the dump and recycle old items, such as car parts. Some places have scroungers sign a waver to keep the dump management for being responsible.
Councillor Mary Murphy agreed they need to make changes. She complimented the workers at the landfill who separate everything. They have started a garden there.
Councillor Rob Goffinet stated there is a motion on the books to follow up several of the concerns with the dump administration. Municipal Manager Ron Poole stated he was unsure if scrounging was on the list of things Council was approving.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated they have had problems in the past with recycling, namely transportation costs to get the material down to the plants in the lower mainland. Jean stated the difference was in the size of the truck. If more people were recycling, they could use a smaller truck for garbage and a different truck to get the recyclables.
Monaghan stated she lived in Israel for a while. Everything there was recycled. A piece of string would go in a bin for recycling. Jean stated there were towns in Saskatchewan which recycled 90%.
Murphy pointed out Council had a meeting with Kitimat Understanding the Environment and they stated there are costs involved in getting the items to the lower mainland. In conversations at the landfill, she discovered if someone needs a part for a lawnmower, they will set it aside for them.
Councillor Phil Germuth stated the refuse collectors are also working at getting programs started in Kitimat and Council is planning a meeting with them and K.U.T.E. to move ahead recycling programs.
Jean pointed out if more people worked with K.U.T.E., their budget would be bigger and more would be accomplished. Monaghan thanked him for his advice.