Residents slow to respond to Blue Box changes

It’s all about a learning curve.
After delivering recycling service here since mid-July, the Town of Fort Frances has learned it might take a while for the volume in “blue box” pick-ups to increase back to where it was under the now defunct Northwest Ontario Recycle Association.
“I think the scheduling has stayed pretty good, but it’s still fairly slow,” Pat Hickerson, the town’s manager of Operations and Facilities, said last week.
“I’ve been watching to see if numbers are going up or down,” he noted. “I definitely expected less materials because of the changes. It’s going to take a while for it to pick up.”
The town has been hauling about one load of recyclables per week to the Koochiching County Environmental Services Division depot across the river—one to two less than it sent to NORA’s depot in Dryden.
While the weight of the first load was not recorded, the Aug. 1 load came in at 6,000 pounds of recyclables while Aug. 8 was 3,000. But the Aug. 18 pickup saw the total back up to 6,000 pounds.
“Some people aren’t willing to go through the sorting process so the loads have been down,” noted Hickerson.
From the recycling depot’s side of things, Hickerson said the communication has been minimal but added “the loads have come in clean and everything’s going well.”
He’s still waiting for more detailed reports, such as the different quantities of each type of recyclable (newspaper, cardboard, aluminum, etc.)
Meant to be a trial run, Hicker-son said he’ll be meeting with the recycling service in the next few weeks to take a closer look at whether the current service is the way to go, considering factors like costs and residents’ usage.
Meanwhile, Hickerson offered a few words to residents who may think the new rules for “blue box” pick-ups are unreasonable.
“What we’re trying to right now is deliver the best option available to us,” he stressed. “The problem with the old way was that a lot of materials were stockpiled in Dryden, some of which eventually went to the landfill—the market just wasn’t there for them.
“Now, we’re doing our best to pick up the materials that are the most cost-efficient and which Koochiching will accept,” he added. “But people should know that even if we stayed with NORA, we would have made changes anyway.”
Despite some residents’ complaints, Hickerson noted there’s been positive feedback, too, evident in comments made to town councillors and even letters to the editor in the Fort Frances Times.