As of May 1, residents may no dispose of major appliance for free at designated depots. The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) has entered into agreement with the Major Appliance Recycling Roundtable (MARR), which is an industry-based stewardship group, to host free drop off depot services.
Stewardship programs such as MARR exist in British Columbia in response to regulations under the environmental management act of B.C., wherein the province says that if you sell a certain product, you are responsible for taking care of the end of life management of it. It is the responsibility of MARR to promote recycling and pay the cost of their recycling.
As of January 1 they implemented a program where they pay the full cost of the end of life management, which for the most part consists of removing ozone depleting substances (ODS) like freon, from appliances like fridges, freezers and air conditioners. Usually, a contracted tecnoician would be called to come and drain the appliance of the ODS for a fee. AS of January 1 the new program will cover that full cost.
Consumers typically pay an enviro fee when they buy something like a fridge, and then get charged as well when they take the dead appliance to a landfill. but now MARR will cover that cost and consumers can drop off their old fridge for free.
“So prior to this we were charging a tipping fee of $30 a tonne, for say a stove,” said Tim Dueck, solid waste program coordinator with the RDKB. “So $30 a tonne translates to about $3, something like that. So for us it’s revenue neutral. It means that instead of the resident paying $3 we are getting that from the appliance manufacturing recycling stewardship program.”
The motivating goal behind this is that oftentimes, major appliances are found discarded in the bush, as some people argue that paying $15 to dispose of a fridge is a barrier to doing the right thing.
“If that’s the rationale for illegal dumping then this will certainly address that and we’re not naive in thinking that this is the end of illegal dumping because it’s been happening for a hundred years or more and it will continue to happen,” Dueck said.
Duck went on to say that while there will be no charge to drop off appliances at Boundary landfills and transfer stations as of May 1, it is a little more complicated in the greater Trail area.
“The regional district does not accept ODS containing appliances at our landfill, they are instead people are directed to a private contractor who does that who works at a scrap metal yard called Tervita Metals,” he said. “And at this point they have not joined this MARR program so in the greater Trail area people will still continue to have to pay to drop off freezers, fridges, air conditioners.”
Duck added that he thinks the program will be well received for residents as now the consumer knows that when they pay the retailer, the MARR program will look after the end of life management for their appliance, and the costs will be covered.