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Where do recyclables from Shuswap homes end up?

May 2, 2019

Oceans turned into rolling, floating seas of plastic. Young children in poor countries scrambling through mountains of dirty plastic to find something valuable. Most recently, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte demanding Canada pick up garbage that was reportedly sent by a Canadian company in 2014 to Manila that still sits there.

These realities raise the question, when people in Salmon Arm and the Shuswap dutifully deal with their recyclables, where do they end up?

Recycling is divided into four categories: residential, commercial, institutional and industrial.

The general message from those people involved in residential recycling in B.C. is, in this province, you can rest easy.

Five years ago, Recycle BC took over residential recycling. Under the old system, municipalities collected the materials and had to find a market for them on the world stage. Now it’s a provincial system, unlike what’s done in other parts of Canada.

“In British Columbia, it’s one agency… They can control the system, and understand the opportunities for recycling,” says Brock Macdonald, CEO of the Recycling Council of BC. “In Ontario, it’s a really big challenge when you have one that’s patchwork.”

Macdonald notes if a ship leaves from the Port of Vancouver carrying recyclables, those contents are not necessarily from B.C.

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