Businesses bringing unsorted cardboard to the recycling plant at the city’s landfill will be punished monetarily starting tomorrow.
City council voted last night to enact fees on companies that are non-compliant with collection practices.
Cardboard collected by contractors or brought to the landfill by businesses will be charged a $50 fee if it is more than 30 per cent contaminated with other recyclables.
“We want to make sure that what is in the bin is truly cardboard,” city manager of public works Pam Penner said.
“If they’re trying to throw in mixed recycling, then we want them to know there is a fee for us to pull and sort that material.”
The fee will be used to offset the time and labour costs associated with the added sorting.
Cardboard recycling with no contamination will continue to be offered for free.
However, cardboard unloaded by companies with more than 10 per cent “residue,” which refers to any items that are not recyclable, will see a $150 levy added.
“We need those prices in place to ensure that people are using the cardboard recycling for the right reason,” Penner said.
There have been cases where everything from electronics to “garbage-bag trash” have been mixed in with cardboard loads.
The city took over the Material Recycling Facility on Jan. 1 from Emterra, which was privately contracted to run the plant previously. Penner said Emterra often charged a “cleaning” fee for contaminated cardboard.
According to a council update, the decision to take over the MRF was based on perceived efficiencies the city could offer to lower expenses.
City officials believe the switch “with all cost accommodated, (could) save the city at least $200,000 annually.”
Three months after taking over the duties, Penner said it is still too early to know exactly how much money is being saved.
Due to an agreement with CUPE, union members were offered first opportunity to work at the plant.
At full capacity the plant employs five people.
Penner said some seasonal city employees chose to work at the MRF.
Of the 32 fees in the city’s sanitation department, 30 saw increases. While the majority of the increases were moderate, tipping fees for commercial refuse per tonne jumped from $51.50 to $60, or 16.5 per cent; and commercial refuse with more than five per cent contamination went from $109.20 to $126, or 15.4 per cent.
Penner said all of the increases were made with an eye to the future.
An engineering report, according to Penner, says the landfill’s life cycle will end in 2048. The additional revenue will be used to maintain the area once it is closed, and source and build a new landfill.
“Even though it may close, the city still has a liability and obligation to maintain the facility,” Penner said.
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