Province50度灰视频檚 blue box changes bring concerns for local businesses

GUELPH 50度灰视频 Wellington County council has endorsed the continuation of county-provided recycling services, but is concerned a local plan leaves out some industrial, commercial and institutional groups.

A provincial change in 2021 to the ubiquitous blue box program is forcing producers of paper and packaging to cover the cost of recycling services for residents, schools, non-profit long-term care homes, parks and transit stations across the province.

A phased approach will see the responsibility transition away from the county starting July 1, 2025, with full producer responsibility kicking in January 2026.

Other municipalities, including East Garafraxa, Grand Valley, Orangeville, Owen Sound, and Southgate, have already switched over.

The provinces of British Columbia and Qu茅bec have been using such a model for years.

50度灰视频淚t50度灰视频檚 a large cost that municipalities bear, and frankly, we50度灰视频檙e not producing these materials which is a leftover of people50度灰视频檚 consumption habits,50度灰视频 county waste services manager Das Soligo told the Advertiser.

Instead of each taxpayer footing the cost of recycling, producers will have to cover the cost and recoup it by increasing prices for consumers who use the products.

50度灰视频淭he theory is that producers, in trying to reduce the cost of their own products, might try to have more recyclable packaging or make some adjustments that would be more efficient,50度灰视频 Soligo said.

Residents here are unlikely to notice any practical changes 50度灰视频 pickups will continue to be done by the company Waste Management on the current schedule.

But because producers don50度灰视频檛 have to cover collection from the commercial and industrial sector, councillors are concerned about what happens for local businesses relying on curbside pickup of their blue bins, totalling roughly 80 tonnes of recyclables each year.

Though larger businesses already have private contracts for waste collection, small businesses, particularly heavy users located in downtowns, would be left without a cost-effective replacement for curbside pickup.

County staff suggested continuing pickup at 558 businesses within the county50度灰视频檚 14 downtown areas, as well as allowing businesses to drop off recycling at a Mount Forest transfer hub, operated by Waste Management.

50度灰视频淐losing the post-transition service gaps will capture up to 20 per cent of the county50度灰视频檚 total recycling tonnage,50度灰视频 Soligo wrote in a report to the county50度灰视频檚 solid waste services committee.

Without keeping the service going, some of that tonnage would 50度灰视频渟urely50度灰视频 end up tossed in the landfill, he added.

The county50度灰视频檚 cost to service the downtown areas and allow businesses and residents to drop off recycling (around 1,000 residents don50度灰视频檛 receive curbside collection) is estimated at $303,600.

The portion of that cost for downtown pickup is estimated at $96,574 annually 50度灰视频 not including a one-time $7,000 expense for 64-gallon carts 50度灰视频 but that estimate could come down depending on how many businesses wish to participate.

It50度灰视频檚 an 50度灰视频渋ncremental budget impact50度灰视频 Soligo wrote in his report, considering producers will be fully paying for residential recycling services. Currently the county and producers split the $4-million annual expense.

Council supported the recommendation to cover downtown pickup at its meeting on April 25, however there are still outlying businesses which aren50度灰视频檛 downtown, and use curbside service.

Warden Andy Lennox said 50度灰视频渢here50度灰视频檚 a fair amount of frustration50度灰视频 with the new program50度灰视频檚 lack of coverage for businesses or institutions, such as churches, which have long relied on blue box pickup.

50度灰视频淪o we have to figure out a way to fill this gap,50度灰视频 he said. 50度灰视频淚t seems kind of backwards.50度灰视频

Councillor Chris White has an issue with the potential financial effects on local business people, and with service reduction.

50度灰视频淚 have a real problem with reducing service like this, especially when we50度灰视频檙e supposed to be saving some money here, which would give us an ability to continue to support our businesses,50度灰视频 White said, adding, 50度灰视频渢hey50度灰视频檙e paying higher taxes.50度灰视频

50度灰视频淲e50度灰视频檙e definitely very concerned; we want to make sure that all of our small businesses are being looked after,50度灰视频 agreed councillor Diane Ballantyne.

50度灰视频淲e should continue to provide them with service, in my opinion,50度灰视频 she said, adding she has faith a solution will be found.

Solid waste services chair Steve O50度灰视频橬eill also is also confident the county will cover the outliers.

50度灰视频淚t50度灰视频檚 tough to tell people, 50度灰视频榃ell, we50度灰视频檙e saving money and we50度灰视频檙e not going to give it back to you,50度灰视频50度灰视频 he said.

50度灰视频淛ust because the province and producers [are] letting us down a bit doesn50度灰视频檛 mean we can say, 50度灰视频榳ell, it50度灰视频檚 not our problem anymore,50度灰视频 because it certainly is.50度灰视频

Soligo said staff heard council50度灰视频檚 charge for options on providing recycling collection to more businesses.

Staff will respond in June with a report on the cost for Waste Management to cover collection at any business within the county50度灰视频檚 56 urban areas, potentially expanding on the 14 downtowns already approved by council last week.

The report will also include pricing to service any business within the county, Soligo said.

Key influences on the forthcoming June quotes will be additional time and stops required, as well as an increased estimate in the tonnage to be collected.

The cost to the county for Waste Management to process a tonne of recycling in Mount Forest is estimated at $250.

50度灰视频淥nce we see the quotations it might inform a recommendation, or we might just stick with our original one,50度灰视频 Soligo said.

50度灰视频淲e50度灰视频檙e going to do some analysis and look at those 14 downtown areas, what percentage of the county businesses are captured by those, what percentage are captured by these other options, and give council the information they require to make a more informed decision.50度灰视频