Recycling up compared to last year

Although numbers reported right after the “bag tag” system was implemented at the beginning of June indicated Fort Frances residents were recycling more, a month-long comparison confirms it.
The amount of paper products put out in “blue boxes” in June, 2003 was 11.74 tonnes. Last month, that figure jumped to 20.44 tonnes—a 74 percent increase, Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown noted Monday.
Likewise, the amount of containers (plastics, aluminum, and steel) jumped 120 percent, from 1.77 tonnes in June, 2003 to 3.91 tonnes last month.
“It’s been one month and we’ve been getting the diversion we wanted,” remarked Brown, adding 87 less tonnes of garbage went to the landfill last month compared to the previous June.
Looking further down the road, Brown said while the town will continue to look into expanding its recycling service here, and add composting to the mix, much of what it can do will depend on the provincial waste diversion strategy.
On June 10, Environment minister Leona Dombrowsky announced the province aims to divert 60 percent of the materials going to landfills in each municipality in Ontario by 2008.
Currently, an average of 28 percent of all waste in the province is diverted.
But at a meeting on the subject Brown attended in Thunder Bay that same day, he said he spoke out on how the cost of recycling in Northern Ontario differs from the south.
For instance, the average cost to recycle in much of the province is $85-$200/tonne while Fort Frances pays about $650/tonne.
He noted if the province wants municipalities in the north to step up their recycling programs along with the rest of Ontario, Queen’s Park would have to increase its funding contribution.
Also at that meeting, Brown said he learned that while the province wants to increase waste diversion, it also wants to be “as cost-effective as possible.”
As such, the province may not include all the materials in its guidelines that local residents may want to be able put into their “blue boxes.”
For example, Brown noted just last week the City of Ottawa stopped accepting Type 3-7 plastics in its recycling program—and believed the province could take the same route when determining what it will consider worthwhile recyclables.
In related news, Brown said the number of non-compliance notices that have been issued since the “bag tag” system went effect has dropped from 135 the first week to 41 in the last week of June.
The notices are given out for any of six different possible non-compliance issues observed at a garbage pickup site, including:
•garbage not in a proper container;
•garbage weighing more than 40 pounds;
•no bag tag;
•garbage not in proper receptacle in Type ‘B’ container;
•garbage not at designated pickup location; and
•garbage is non-collectible.
Over the five weeks, the most common point of non-compliance had been residents not using bag tags.
Brown said those households that have received non-compliance notices two weeks in a row will receive, or already have received, visits from bylaw enforcement officers, who will inquire what the problem is and, if necessary, explain to the residents how the bag tag system works.
He stressed those residents who still don’t understand the new waste management bylaw can call Public Works at 274-9893 or check out the town’s web site at www.fort-frances.com