Recycling program getting better

With hopes of having the contract signed with Koochiching County Environmental Services Division in the next month, the “blue box” pick-up service here slowly is improving, Operations and Facilities manager Pat Hickerson said yesterday.
“I talked to the contractor that does the pick-ups and they still seem to think the numbers are growing slowly,” he noted. “Our incidents of rejecting materials for pick-up has dropped to zero.”
Since “blue box” pick-ups resumed here in late July, the average weekly delivered weight of materials has increased to 2.98 tonnes (6,560 pounds)—taking about five hours to process.
This costs about $802 per week.
Hickerson stressed most of the materials are being recycled, unlike under the Northwest Ontario Recycling Association (NORA), which often saw worthless materials like box board and certain plastics ending up being dumped into landfills.
But if not as many types of materials are being collected in “blue boxes,” how much more is now going to the landfill?
“Talking to the garbage contractor, there doesn’t seem to have been any dramatic increase,” said Hickerson.
“We would need a longer period of time to look at the numbers. We don’t have a tracking mechanism in place right now, we don’t keep track of the tonnage,” he added.
“But there’s bound to be some increase.”
Hickerson noted NORA discovered it just doesn’t pay to pick up some recyclable materials.
He added the only difference between now and with NORA is that previously acceptable recyclable materials are being picked up during the regular garbage pickup and put in our landfill here as opposed to being put in “blue boxes,” shipped to Dryden, sorted, and then put into the landfill there.
If recycling pick-up stays at its current level, the cost will amount to about $86,000 a year. The negotiated contract will be for a five-year period of service.

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