Thrift shops suffer after provincial recycling shift

Staff at the Sassy Lion thrift store on Kenneth Street in Duncan were outraged when they discovered early last Thursday that someone had dumped garbage outside their store.

And not just a bag of garbage, but a huge wooden box half-full of it.

Sharon Farrel was so unhappy she marched up the street and into the Citizen office to voice her concerns.

“It’s disgraceful that somebody would do that,” she said. “We’ve been worried that the new rules about recycling would see this kind of thing start to happen.”

Her co-workers were also astonished, saying that even though the box had wheels under it, moving it would likely have been a two-person job, done during the night. “They just dumped it here,” said Barb Obsniuk.

There have been complaints over the years from other thrift stores, notably the Salvation Army outlet on the Trans-Canada Highway, that people were been dumping garbage behind the store at the loading bay.

The Sassy Lion is not usually burdened with this kind of problem, probably because it is more of a downtown operation, staff said.

There have been instances even there, though, like the time two well-dressed women backed up a pickup truck to drop off what they said were clean, washed recyclable clothing. When workers were momentarily called indoors, the women dumped bags of stinking stuff and took off with a roar.

However, with new regulations about what can be recycled coming in, they were wondering aloud this week if they might find themselves making expensive runs to the Bings Creek recycle depot like they had to do to get rid of the big mess left last Thursday.

At least the inconvenience of getting rid of the garbage, which included an old toilet seat as well as plastic milk and laundry jugs, was mitigated a when they were able to remove and retain some valuable casters from the wooden box, according to volunteer Bill Benedek.

But where did the big container come from? No one knows, but investigation of the logo indicates it began life in Mississippi before, like so many of us, making its way to the Warmland.

As of May 19, under the new recycling regime with Multi Material BC some new materials have been added to curbside recycling, some have been removed and there has been a shift in how the program is funded as it is now run as a corporate entity.

The new products accepted in curbside recycling will include clean paper drink/coffee cups, milk and soup cartons, aerosol cans and plant pots.

But plastic bags and film plastics (such as bread bags and kitchen wrap) are no longer be accepted at curbside, although some types can still be recycled for free at CVRD recycling depots.

This change is happening because the B.C. Government now requires businesses that produce and supply packaging and printed paper to residents to be responsible for collecting and recycling these materials.

A huge protest, led by such Vancouver Islanders as Buckerfield’s CEO Kelvin McCulloch, and Hugh Nicholson, of the Vancouver Island NewsMedia Group and the BC/Yukon Community Newspapers Association, continues to draw attention to the difficulties facing many businesses because of the contracting out of collection and recycling.