Council goes with recycling strategy

Duane Hicks

Now will
next steps
  Following up on an open house held last month, Fort Frances council has adopted, in principle, a residential “blue box” waste recycling strategy prepared by Trow Associates.
But exactly how aspects of the strategy will be implemented is something that will be determined in the first quarter of 2011.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said Trow Associates has proposed nine improvements—but there is a cost associated with implementing each strategy.
He added with the community appearing to support higher waste diversion rates and more recycling, council will have to determine how to pay to make these improvements.
“Basically, council will pick and choose which ones they think are more important to go forward first,” Brown explained.
“This is a 10-year strategy, so there are certain items that will have a cost.
“What they have to decide is which one strategy we’re going to do in 2011,” he noted. “Because the budget hasn’t been passed yet, if we’re going to do something, we have to include the cost in the budget.”
Brown said the town’s “blue box” funding from Waste Diversion Ontario eventually will increase as a result of more “blue box” tonnes recycled per year. Hopefully, the new recycling depot here, which will be open to the public Jan. 5, will help result in higher recycling volumes.
As well, under Stewardship Ontario’s Continuous Investment Fund, 50 percent funding can be applied for and obtained to support and implement any one of the nine strategies.
The initiatives include:
•Public education and promotion
Continue with the town’s current and planned educational initiatives, as well as explore other
opportunities for public education.
•Collection of recyclables from the ICI sector
Assess the feasibility of providing collection service for “blue box” recyclables to the town’s industrial, commercial, and institutional sector, as well as assess the feasibility of funding this service as a utility.
•Transfer station/blue box depot upgrade
Complete upgrades to the transfer station/“blue box” drop-off depot located in the north end of town.
•Bag tags
Assess the feasibility of requiring bag tags on all bags of garbage.
•Landfill disposal ban
Implement a landfill disposal ban on materials included in the town’s recycling program.
•Staff training
Have waste management and front-line customer service staff participate in training sessions provided by waste management organizations (this may include either in-person conferences or seminars, or online webcasts).
Continue with collecting glass separately for reuse or recycling.
•Assessment of source-separated collection
Assess the cost-effectiveness of dual-stream collection of recyclables, and its impact on revenues for marketed recyclable materials (this could include the option of weekly or bi-weekly collection the next time the town tenders for waste collection services).
•Charge for or ban plastic bags
Assess feasibility of implementing either a small fee on retail plastic bags, or an outright ban on them.
Council agreed at its regular meeting Monday night that in the first quarter of 2011, the Operations and Facilities executive committee will present a residential “blue box” waste recycling strategy action plan in order to implement each individual strategy over the next 10 years.
This then will be adopted by council by a separate resolution.
Coun. Ken Perry assured the public the town will try to enhance its recycling efforts in 2011.
“We are moving forward,” he pledged. “We are endeavouring to do as much as possible.”
By adopting the strategy before the end of the 2010, the town has met its obligations to Waste Diversion Ontario and avoided a reduction in its “blue box” funding allocation.
The town’s 2010 funding allocation was $62,140.37. If a strategy had not been adopted by year’s end, that funding could have been reduced by $9,300.
Recycling bins
In related news, town residents will be able to drop off their recyclables at the Public Works building whenever they want starting Wednesday, Jan. 5.
They can bring recyclables to the new recycle transfer station which has been built on Sixth Street West (behind the Public Works yard).
There they will find four large recycling bins, where they can drop off their recyclables 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The bins are for co-mingled recyclables, so you do not have to separate recyclables into plastics, paper, etc.
This service is being provided in addition to bi-weekly curbside “blue box” pick-up, which will continue.
The idea is to give residents more options for getting rid of their recyclables and enhance access to do so.
If people wanted to go on vacation, for instance, they could get rid of their recyclables before they go and not have to wait for their scheduled curbside pick-up.
Meanwhile, council also received a report from Brown regarding a request from resident Anthony Kadikoff to revise the residential waste and recycling collection schedule so that collection days remain fixed and not change due to a statutory holiday.
As recommended in the report, the town will make no changes to the present method of curbside collection for the next two years (2011-12).
However, the administration will review in future the option of combining two of the existing collection areas into one new collection area and eliminating any residential collection services on Mondays.
The suggestion could be considered as early as Jan. 1, 2013 if financially feasible.
The idea behind Kadikoff’s request is to keep collection days consistent for each different collection area. Currently, the curbside collection schedule moves forward one day after every one of the 10 statutory holidays.
But Brown explained that because four of the 10 statutory holidays always land on a Monday, it would be necessary to eliminate any residential collection services on Mondays so as to not unfairly penalize residents living in a particular collection area who have their curbside pick-up on that day.
This would mean reducing the collection areas from five to four, each of which would see pick-up Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.