The better job residents do sorting their recyclables, the more cash the city stands to save.
The City of Brandon recently signed a three-year deal with BFI Canada Inc. to process recycling — a deal which will see a price break if “contamination” levels drop below a certain level.
Right now, that number is around 16 per cent.
According to the deal — which will cost $292,000 this year with a two per cent bump for each following year — the city will pay BFI $71 per tonne to haul recycling to Winnipeg and sort it. But if that number dips below 10 per cent, the fee drops to $60 and the contamination number will be based on random audits throughout the year.
“It’s very achievable,” said Ian Broome, the city’s director of public works. “It’s just, we have to continue on with our education and ... just get the co-operation of the public.”
As of Jan. 1, the city will take on some of the sorting itself — mostly cardboard, taking on two to three extra employees at the material recovery facility at the Eastview Landfill site to operate balers and forklifts.
“With the organization being tasked for efficiencies, we went out for tender and it came back a lot cheaper than what we were currently paying after we hired some staff and did it ourselves,” Broome said.
“We’ll pull the residue out as much as we can, larger chunks of cardboard and it will be baled right here.”
The city stands to save about $40,000 per year, if residents do a better job organizing their garbage.
“Either way, it’s still a huge savings to the three-year contract,” Broome said.
When the city first signed the contract with Emterra Environmental eight years ago, Broome said the city wasn’t ready to tackle a project like this.
“But over the years, we’ve learned a lot. We’ve witnessed a lot of changes within other organizations throughout the country,” he said.
It’s a long way off before Brandon stops hauling its recycling to Winnipeg and sorts out its own trash.
Optical technology widely used in large sorting stations can cost tens of millions of dollars and Brandon is no where near the usage to justify such an investment.
“At this time, it’s not feasible to do that,” Broome said.
“Who knows what will happen in 10 years? We could be a huge transfer station for western Manitoba or something, but at this time, no, we’re not entertaining that.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 16, 2013