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Struggling Greater Victoria blue box recycling pickup to see a truck boost

GFL Environmental on deck as contract with Emterra expires end of 2023
The Capital Regional District has a new recycling contract with GFL Environmental starting in 2024 after current contractor Emterra strugged in 2022 with staffing issues and pickup. (Black Press Media file photo)

More trucks are on the way as the Capital Regional District goes Green For Life in its next recycling contract.

The CRD issued a request for proposals in July for a six-year contract for GFL Environmental to provide residential curbside blue box collection starting Jan. 1, 2024.

The switch comes in the wake of ongoing pickup issues attributed to staffing and weather by current provider Emterra Environmental. Greater Victoria residents who use blue box recycling have been forced into a waiting game several times this year.

With that contract nearing its end, the GFL bid came in ahead of Emterra – the only two companies to provide proposals.

GFL Environmental takes over with more trucks and an eye to the environment.

CRD staff found the 25 collection trucks – 23 running on natural gas and two all-electric – proposed by GFL was a more appropriate-sized fleet to reliably service the region, including future growth. Emterra proposed 16, two fewer than the current contract calls for.

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The contract is an unusual six years because the CRD works with Recycle BC which funds the residential curbside blue box program and has since May 2014. The agreement with Recycle BC also expires at the end of 2023. That agency only offered a one-year contract covering 2024 as it does a provincewide cost study, then enter a new five-year agreement with the CRD.

The CRD’s contract with Emterra does not contain an option for an extension, and Emterra management indicated it was not interested in an extension under the current terms, according to a staff report.

Aware of the recent challenges, the new contract was modified to contain clauses that allow the CRD to levy penalties for non-performance, to be able to correct deficiencies and requiring a business continuity plan to ensure services under extraordinary circumstances.

As a heavy season of recycling hits with many households celebrating Christmas and snow in the forecast for next week, residents who haven’t already can visit to sign up for service updates.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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