The recycling conundrum

Lisa
Lisa Goudy
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Moose Jaw residents to be part of provincial residential recycling program

Jud Riendeau is happy with the city’s current recycling program, but he’d like to see a curbside recycling program.

“It’d be nice if we had the blue bins in front of our houses. It’d be more convenient,” he said as he recycled some materials at the bins at Sobey’s parking lot on Monday afternoon. “But I don’t want to complain because at least we have these recycling bins. It’s not too far to go.”

Recycling was a topic of discussion at Monday’s council meeting. In a vote of 6-1, councillors decided to join the provincial Multi Material Stewardship Western (MMSW) program for residential recycling. The program will cover curbside recycling or depot recycling.

“There’s a potential subsidy being offered for the province for recycling programs so I think it’s something we need to look at doing in whatever form that takes,” said Coun. Patrick Boyle who moved the motion.

The recycling program will begin Jan. 1 and, as such, the deadline to sign the agreement is June 30 and there is a 30-day termination clause. An engineering report said Sobeys has extended the timeline to keep the recycling bins on their parking lot until Dec. 31.

Coun. Dawn Luhning said councillors discussed recycling in the last planning session. She added she supported the motion.

“(I hope) that it’s part of a larger package that this council will look at for providing some sort of citywide recycling,” said Luhning.

“I believe we made a good commitment to the residents around Sobey’s and the businesses around Sobey’s that we are going to move those bins and either find a better location, whether that be temporary or not depending on the decision that this council makes.”

According to the agreement, the non-profit agency MMSW will pay municipalities or designated sub-contractor to run the recycling program based on tonnage of recyclables. For municipalities like Moose Jaw with population sizes between 15,000 and 100,000, the maximum payment from MMSW is $156 per tonne of waste packaging and paper materials. That is equivalent to 75 per cent of the operating cost of $207 per tonne of recyclables.

The $156-payment from MMSW is subject to reporting from the service provider, which would be the City of Moose Jaw, followed by an audit. It would also be adjusted for any recyclable contamination.

However, for Coun. Brian Swanson there are too many ifs involved in the program that has been “percolating for years and years and years,” he said. Just over a week ago, councillors were notified of the impending deadline of June 30.

He added implementing a citywide curbside single-stream mandatory program would likely equate to between a two or two and a half per cent increase in taxes.

“I’m not in favour of getting into something I think is quite half-baked. To me it seems like we’re only 20 meters from the boat now and the gap is closing quickly,” said Swanson. “I don’t think that we have enough information nor do we have an understanding of the costs in relationship to the other costs we have.”

The motion passed with only Swanson opposed.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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