The ninth cashless recycling centre in B.C. is coming to Penticton.
An unstaffed, contactless and electronically-operated business where people can return their empty bottles and cans will operate at 200 Carmi Avenue for the next three years after Penticton council approved a proposal from a B.C.-based organization, Encorp Pacific on May 3.
The “return-it” centre, a solar-powered 20-foot storage container, will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day as early as this year.
Encorp Pacific’s proposal resulted in the city receiving two letters of opposition, with community members outlining their concerns over loitering at the location and the “attraction of undesirable activity.”
“I’m nervous about three years,” said counc. Judy Sentes. “I would rather see this for one year and then we’ll see how it goes.”
The entire process of returning empties takes about one minute, prompting city staff to say that “there are no other businesses in the area that offer this type of service.”
Security cameras and dedicated parking spaces are included in the approved proposal.
Customers who use the service will have to sign up for an account, place their empties in a plastic bag and enter a unique code before the unit electronically sorts through the returns.
People can request payment via e-transfer or cheque using Encorp’s online system.
“This technology really isn’t that cutting edge,” counc. James Miller said, who voted in favour of the proposal. “They’ve had these in grocery stores and big-box stores in the United States for 20 years. But I think this is a great thing, anything we can do to recycle is a great idea.”
Sentes, however, maintained her concerns about the project coming to commercial property as opposed to an industrial one.
“This will be very visible from our Main Street and I’m sensitive to what that view will be like,” she said. “I understand it will have security but the three-year (permit) is troublesome to me.”
The councillor later voted in favour of city staff’s three-year recommendation.