After over a year of delays, curbside recycling is expected to hit Merritt homes this spring, though a firm timeline is not yet determined.

The City of Merritt has been working with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District on the new EcoDepot in Lower Nicola, where recycling will be taken once it’s picked up from people’s homes. The TNRD was responsible for building the facility, while the City of Merritt is taking care of the actual pick-up and delivery of recyclables.

Environmental assessments held up the money the TNRD needed to build the facility – which comes from $9 million in provincial funding for the TNRD’s solid waste, for about a year.

“We asked [the City of Merritt] to hold off for the last year because we didn’t have anywhere for them to take recycling,” TNRD Director of Environmental Services Peter Hughes said. “But that’s now done, the building is completed (we’re just waiting for a trailer) and it’s ready to go in the next three or four weeks. My understanding that the City of Merritt can roll it out whenever they feel fit.”

Merritt’s Public Works Superintendent, Darrell Finnigan, said the city has been ready to go for a year, and is now working on a firm timeline to roll the program out.

“That’s why we have 2,700 recycling cans sitting in our yard from last year,” Finnigan said, adding that the city’s garbage truck will be used to pick up recycling as well.

“People probably don’t understand that our truck has two separate compartments,” he said. “It picks up one can as garbage, and inside the truck there’s a chute that flips over, and then you pick up the recycling and it goes over into a different compartment in the back. It’s just one truck doing two things at the same time.”

Finnigan said the transition to curbside recycling should be easy for residents. They will simply need to put garbage and recycling cans out on the same day, spaced a metre apart. He said the city hopes the new recycling cans, which have almost twice the capacity of the city’s garbage cans, will divert a lot of recyclables from landfills.

“From speaking to other communities and companies that sell these cans, recycling is usually about 60 per cent of your garbage stream,” Finnigan said, adding that Merritt’s recycling system is the same as Kamloops’. “For the average person in town, they’ll receive a can with an embedded sticker that shows exactly what can go in and what can’t. There are little pictures and instructions to tell you how to put the cans out. It’s fairly straightforward.”

The self-dump recycling facility on Main Street will not be affected by the addition of curbside recycling.