BEPPLE – Living together is messy, complicated and complex

(Image: File photo)

LOCAL GOVERNMEN is many things, but at its core is finding better ways to live together in relatively close quarters.

Take garbage, for example. Yesterday, City of Kamloops staff presented a report on recycling to council.

Clean recycling is valuable. The City earns almost $1.4 million per year by selling our recycling to Recycle BC. Clean cardboard, paper, tin cans and plastic containers are valuable. But contaminated recycling is worthless.

It seems that most Kamloopsians are following the rules, but some are not. Garbage is ending up in the recycling bins. Text books, children’s toys, electronics and general rubbish. Not a lot, but enough that nine percent of our recycling is contaminated.

Contaminated recycling is not just worthless, the City gets fined by Recycle BC. With such a high rate of contamination, City of Kamloops’ fine is $10,000 per month. The profits of selling recycling is wiped out by the fines.

Trash is literally messy. But it’s also messy figuring out how to get everyone to follow recycling rules. Sometimes recycling rules change, making mistakes understandable. Sometimes people don’t have room in their garbage bin and try to sneak garbage into recycling. Sometimes people just don’t care.

Regardless, next year, a few people’s contaminated recycling bins will cost City of Kamloops residents collectively $10,000 per month in fines from Recycle BC.

It may be an individual who contaminated their recycling, but the fine is levied against the city as a whole, so ultimately we will all pay part of the price. Fines can only recover part of the cost.

The City will be implementing more checks, education, and fines plus recognition of good recycling practices to try and reduce the contamination and fines. In worst case situations, if someone continues to contaminate their recycling with garbage,they may loose recycling service with the City.

It may seem that almost everyone will “do the right thing,” but in the end there will always be some who need a bit more education, a little more encouragement, a reminder or sometimes a fine.

But if you listened to the presentation from City staff on the recycling dilemma, getting people to comply voluntarily is always the best approach. Education and incentives trump fines and removal of recycling services.

In the end, we’re all part of the same community. Living together in general is messy, complicated and complex.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, alternate TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9489 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on BEPPLE – Living together is messy, complicated and complex

  1. Soo … in one breath, the City earns $1.4Million per year from RecycleBC … and in the next breath, due to recycling contamination the “City of Kamloops’ fine is $10,000 per month. The profits of selling recycling is wiped out by the fines.”

    Hang on … ya cant have both.

    $1.4Million equals about $117,000 per month that the City profits from the sale of our recycling materials.

    The $10,000 monthly fine is less than 10% of the profits earned monthly by selling our recycling. There is no ‘wiped out’ here at all, we still earn $107,000 per month or $1.28Million per year.

    Its good to educate the masses and media post the need for people to be aware and try to do better regarding their recycling, and this will be an ongoing struggle to be sure.

    But … lets temper statements with less rhetoric like ‘our profits are wiped out’.

    • Mel Rothenburger // February 1, 2023 at 2:45 PM // Reply

      Except the City says the revenue from RecycleBC doesn’t cover the full cost of the recycling program.

      • It takes many millions to earn 1.4 million back, but I suppose it is better than nothing. No?

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