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Waste commission considers recycling centres' future

Mountain View Regional Waste Commission contracts Environmental 360 Solutions to provide bins at the nine recycling centres in the region including in Olds and Carstairs
MVT stock Didsbury landfill
A truck passes over the scales at the Mountain View Regional Waste Commission landfill north of Didsbury. File photo/MVP Staff

DIDSBURY - Mountain View Regional Waste Commission is considering the future of its recycling centres in response to a steep decline in the market for most recyclable materials being deposited at the facilities, says Town of Didsbury councillor Bill Windsor.

The commission was formed in 2001 to coordinate the management and disposal of solid waste within Mountain View County and area urban centres. There are six member communities: Mountain View County, the towns of Didsbury, Olds, Sundre and Carstairs, and the Village of Cremona.

The commission operates the regional landfill site near Didsbury, two transfer sites at Sundre and Water Valley, and nine recycling centres throughout the county and urban municipalities.

The commission currently contracts Environmental 360 Solutions to provide bins at the nine recycling centres. Items currently accepted at the centres include mixed plastics, cardboard and boxboard, newspaper, mixed paper, tin can and clear glass.

“We are exploring the possibility of not doing that (operating the recycling centres) any more,” Windsor told the Albertan. “There are spot markets for specific items that are recyclable, but the vast majority of items that people think are bring recycled actually aren’t being recycled. There is absolutely no market for it.  

“It’s a commodity market so things will change and things will fluctuate, but ever since China kind of shut off accepting North American recycling, which I put recycling in quotation marks, there really hasn’t been a major market for recyclables at all.”

There is still a limited market for cardboard and for paper, said Windsor, who is the Town of Didsbury's representative on the commission.

The recycling centres cost the commission more than 50 per cent of its total fee for service charged to members. The current fee for service is $25.23 per capita and the cost of the recycling centres is $14.21 per capita.

“Essentially what we are doing there is we are charging our residents on a per capita basis an exorbitant amount of money to put stuff into the landfill,” he said.

By way of contrast, the fee for service for the landfill is $4.10 per capita.

The chief administrative officer of the commission is currently conducting a survey of member municipalities about the possibility of doing away with the recycling centres, he said.

The survey results are expected to be presented to member representatives at the commission’s November meeting.

“It (survey result) will be an indication from the member communities as to what their feelings are in regard to maintaining these recycling centres or not,” he said.

“Because it would require a change in level of service with the membership memorandum of agreement, it would take the members to say, ‘yes we should not be doing this anymore.’”

People dropping off non-recyclable items such as trash and furniture at the centres is an ongoing problem, he said.

“Then it becomes a burden on the municipalities and the commission to deal with that stuff,” he said.

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