| Sep 14, 2006


Feature Article - September 14, 2006

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Feature Article - September 14, 2006

Recycling issues are everywhere

byJeffGreen

Ontario ’s recycling program has long been the subject of controversy over costs, difficulties in finding markets, and complications over collection times.

Frontenac County has been not been immune from these issues, and they have come to the fore recently.

In South Frontenac, residents have expressed anger over changes to the recycling pick up schedule that came about when the township entered into a contract for recycling with Kingston Area Recycling Centre.

The previous contractor had informed the township that they were no longer available, and the new contract is more cost effective than the previous contract, but it has meant that the bi-weekly recycling pickup in Loughborough and Portland Districts has changed.

Now, one day each month, cardboard and glass are picked up, and one day each month, fibres, plastic and cans are picked up. Previously all recyclable materials were picked up twice a month.

Flyers

South Frontenac Council has received many phone calls and several letters complaining about this change.

“I just received my new rules for our recycling and I am not happy. Do you realise that since today was a pick up day we won’t have another pick up for a month? This is a step backward not a step forward. … I trust you will start looking for a better system,” wrote Bob and Louise Ruttan, in a letter that was typical of the kinds of feedback the township has received.

In Central and North Frontenac, there is no garbage pickup. Residents deliver their own recycling, and garbage, to dump sites. Over the past two summers, the contractor that both townships had hired to pick up the recycling from the dump sites, has fallen way behind the summer influx of recyclables, and dutiful recyclers have been greeted with overflowing bins of glass, cans and plastic, and large amounts of material strewn about the yard.

Last month, Central Frontenac council’s Public Works Manager, Bill Nicol, prepared a short report on the issue for council.

“For the past three years we have encountered a failure to perform by our recycling contractor. Because of our seasonal population the emptying out of recyclables goes from 12 to 15 bins per month in the off season, to 40 to 50 bins per month in the peak summer months. Each year we threaten the contractor that we will terminate the agreement, and each year in the fall the problem gets resolved,” Nicol wrote.

Central Frontenac spends $45,000 each year for recycling, and Nicol reported that changing contractors will likely mean an increase. If the township decides to truck the recyclables themselves, perhaps to KARC, Nicol wrote that it would require purchasing 20 new bins at a cost of $5,000 each. Council has assigned Nicol the task of investigating other options for recycling and report back to Council in December or January, recommending steps that should be taken to rectify the present situation.

For all Frontenac County townships, recycling is something that must be addressed for at least two reasons. Firstly, the provincial government has set aggressive targets for recycling, which municipalities feel pressured to meet.

More crucially, dump sites are filling up everywhere, (sites have closed within the past year in all three townships) and there are no prospects that new sites will be approved anywhere in the county. Diversion from the waste stream to the recycling stream is the only means available to delay a garbage crunch in most areas.

A feasibility study for a small-scale incineration unit to serve North Frontenac and Addington Highlands came to the conclusion that it would be a prohibitively expensive solution for small townships, and the study concluded that in the near future the townships will likely have to consider shipping garbage elsewhere to go into landfill or large-scale incineration facilities.

There has been good news for municipalities in recent weeks regarding recycling. After years of pressure, it appears a deposit-return system for wine and spirits will be established this winter. A press release from the Ministry of the Environment, released on September 10th, said, in part, “Starting February 1, 2007, Ontario consumers will pay a deposit on all wine and spirit containers purchased in Ontario at the LCBO, agency stores, and winery and distillery retail stores … Consumers will be able to return empty wine and spirit containers to The Beer Store for a full refund.”

This measure alone could eliminate 83% of the coloured glass that is handled by Ontario municipalities.

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