Let’s be clear, the decision to remove public recycling bins was made by the owners of the properties where the bins were located, not by any level of government.
This year alone, bins were removed from Driftwood Mall and Glacier Gardens.
Property owners deserve thanks for allowing the bins to be stored on their properties for as long as they were.
However, the decision to remove them — spurred by ignorant or uncaring people who treated the bins as convenient mini garbage dumps — has certainly lessened recycling in the Comox Valley.
Somewhere between dedicated recyclers and wanton litterers is a majority of people who want to do the right thing. And they will — if it’s convenient enough to be part of their lifestyle without too much time or effort.
Municipal curbside recycling programs in Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland sure help. The City, Town and Village even remove yard waste.
The frequency can be a problem, especially since the bins have vanished from malls. It’s more difficult to frequent them between curbside visits to homes. There is only so much you can get into those blue boxes, and you can’t recycle glass in them.
According to Comox Strathcona Waste Management, bins remain at Home Depot and Courtenay Country Market in Courtenay, BFI Canada in Cumberland and the Old Oyster River Fire Hall.
As the big green bins vanish from high-visibility, parking-friendly locations, recyclable material will increasingly go to the landfill.
That is part of an even bigger problem, because landfills in Campbell River and Cumberland (Pidgeon Lake) are close to filling up.
The Comox Valley Regional District’s preferred option is to expand the Cumberland facility. The cost is estimated to exceed $175 million over 30 years — and the Village of Cumberland opposes the expansion plan within its borders.
Recycling is not a miracle solution to overflowing landfills or political wrangling, but it would help if it were more convenient.