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Abbotsford Joins Multi-Material BC Program

Setting the Record Straight

Posted February 2, 2017


Multi-Material BC (MMBC) is a non-profit organization that is responsible for residential recycling programs in many areas across BC. MMBC provides this service through partnerships with local governments, First Nations, private companies and non-profit organizations. The MMBC program is funded by the businesses that supply packaging and printed paper to BC residents, shifting recycling costs away from municipalities.

Over 75 local governments and First Nations have joined the MMBC program since it began operating in 2014. Abbotsford joins the District of Mission, City of Chilliwack and City of Kamloops as new additions to the program this year. 

By joining the MMBC program, the City’s recycling services will be funded by the producers that supply packaging and printed paper instead of through user fees. Abbotsford will collect these materials on behalf of MMBC, and in turn, receive annual program revenues of close to $1 million. This revenue will provide opportunities to enhance the solid waste program,  improve service and keep user fees low.

The MMBC program is expected to result in more material being recycled. Residents have an expanded list of products that can be recycled, either through the curbside program or at a drop-off depot. There will be changes to the current curbside recycling program. These changes will be outlined in a mailer coming to all single family residences in February.

Glass and film plastic (shopping bags and bread bags) will no longer be accepted in the curbside blue bags, but can be dropped off at an MMBC recycling depot. Plastic shopping bags can also be taken to local retailers who have a bag recycling program.  New materials that will be collected in the blue bags include coffee cups and lids, paper pet food bags, and an expanded list of plastic containers. Depot locations are listed on the MMBC website at www.recyclinginbc.ca.  A final list of depot locations in Abbotsford is still being finalized, and will be provided to residents in February.

Abbotsford cannot pick up glass containers at the curb and meet MMBC specifications. The City currently operates on a single stream pick up service, where all recyclables go into one bag and are picked up and put into a truck that has one bin. When mixed with other recyclables, glass often breaks and contaminates other material in the bag. MMBC will not accept glass collected in a single stream system because of this contamination.

The majority of communities that collect glass use a multi-stream collection model and material is separated/sorted before it goes to the curb. This material is picked up by trucks that have different compartments for different materials.

Residents will have several months to learn about the new program in preparation for the transition date. Changes to the collection program will begin on April 3, 2017 and as of May 1, blue bags containing glass or film plastic will no longer be collected.

Residential collection days will remain the same and the material collection limits remain the same. Residents can put out unlimited recycling blue bags and up to 10 containers of compostable waste weekly, and 3 containers of garbage bi-weekly.

The changes to recycling only affect households that receive City curbside collection services. The City does not provide solid waste collection services to multi-family properties (townhouses, condominiums, apartments and bare land stratas) and does not collect solid waste collection and processing user fees from these residents. Multi-family properties are required to make their own arrangements for collection of recyclables and delivery to an authorized depot, and are encouraged to contact their collection service provider about participation in the MMBC program.

View our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.