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Hub Staff

Saugeen Shores Councillor John Rich, Council representative and former Chair of Bruce Area Solid Waste Recycling (BASWR), reported at the February 24 Committee of Whole meeting that the loss in commodity revenue from plastics and aluminum combined with a diminishing market for newspaper and paper products resulted in a 13.5 percent increase per household recycling cost and a $220,000 pull from the capital reserves.

“The future doesn’t look any brighter,” forewarned Rich. “We could have easily taken a 40 percent increase this year,” he said. Rich further predicted an equal increase in household recycling and withdrawal from reserves for 2021.

In efforts to reduce their losses, BASWR made the decision to charge Saugeen Shores for the recycling bin pickup at the Southampton landfill. At the March 9 Committee of Whole, the Director of Infrastructure and Development Amanda Froese presented a recommendation to Council for the Town of Saugeen Shores to pay BASWR for the pickup at the landfill, and using the landfill reserves to fund this service.

The recycling bins at the landfill are open to the public and not closely monitored, which results in frequent contamination and misuse, explained Froese. Froese noted that the new entrance to the landfill, scheduled for completion in 2021, will help to relieve a number of the issues with the bins and possibly remove the need for this added service. The quotation from BASWR for the pickup of these bins is estimated at $25,500 for the year.

Councillor Myette questioned whether this was a direct result of the falling commodity prices on recyclable products.

“The bigger problem right now is actually the contamination,” answered Froese. "The amount of recycling that comes out of those carts is so small because people are putting milk cartons in them and mixing glass in with paper and they’re making a condition that BASWR can’t recycle what’s there,” she said.

Councillor Rich agreed with Myette and compared a $220,000 loss this year to profits seen in previous years of operation as a result. “To have a driver that would go there once a day to clean up the mess that the community puts in there, wasn’t a big deal if you’re making a profit,” stated Rich. "Now they’re trying to look for places to save money."

Rich noted the bins make sense for cottagers who leave on a Sunday and would rather not have their recycling bins out at the curb all week. The carts at the landfill offer them a self-serve recycling option which, because they're not monitored, results in frequent contamination of the carts. Rich stressed that the contamination, either from garbage or mixed recyclables, often means that these products will go into the landfill. According to Rich, other BASWR group municipalities keep these bins in gated areas and under staff supervision.

Rich said individuals may be misinformed to believe that if they take items that are not collected at the curb side to the landfill recycling carts, such as cartons and tetra packs, that they will “magically be recycled”. In reality, these items are dumped into the landfill, first causing extra sorting work for BASWR employees.

In conclusion Rich offered his opinion to Council. “I’d like to see us with larger bins. I’d like to see them gated off, but if our facility won’t accommodate that, unfortunately it’s almost like paying $25,000 for people to continue to abuse the privilege of being able to drop off recycling when we could take the bins away and force people to recycle at the curb."