The recycling sector delivered a warning to Dysart et al’s environment committee that costs to manage recyclables are going up.
Garbutt Disposal and Waste Connections of Canada both presented to the committee Aug. 8. Due to a crash in worldwide recycling commodity prices, both companies spoke to the increased cost of doing business that is soon going to hit municipal budgets harder.
“We’re facing severe cost pressures,” committee chair John Smith said. “Nobody’s buying most of the stuff that goes into a recycling container.”
Garbutt Disposal sought municipal compensation for the cardboard hauling it currently provides to local businesses. Garbutt previously did this as no cost to the municipality, but now seeks $100 per tonne.
Owner Jim Garbutt explained that they now operate at a loss hauling two to 2.5 tonnes of cardboard away from Dysart et al each week. The alternative will be the municipality having to pay to haul that cardboard from its landfills itself.
“Not a feasible thing for Dysart to do,” Garbutt said. “Better off to pay us.”
The recycling market has plummeted the past couple of years due to the world’s largest recyclable importer, China, cutting down on what it is willing to take. Garbutt Disposal also told Minden council May 30 the company was closing its Lochlin recycling facility but could continue doing cardboard if Minden council could pay a $100 per tonne processing fee.
He also suggested Minden Hills could take over the recycling facility itself, which he echoed to Dysart et al.
“Maybe Dysart and Minden should think about talking together and they can process,” Garbutt said.
Smith said the committee plans to speak with local businesses about the amount of waste and recycling they produce.
“Our model frankly was set up to serve individual residents,” Smith said. “We need to find another model.”
He told Garbutt Disposal to put a proposal in writing for municipal staff to work through.
Waste Connections warns of costs
Waste Connections of Canada plant manager Ludwig Biliko also presented to the committee to talk about rising costs of recycling. The company is contracted to handle recycling for Dysart et al until the end of the year.
Biliko said the contract would be honoured at current prices. But he warned when the municipality puts out a request for proposals for 2020, the prices will be different.
“There’s changes in the world coming. Huge changes,” Biliko said.
One of those changes is the province shifting to a producer-led recycling system. The province announced Aug. 15 it would proceed with transitioning to a producer-responsibility model over the next six years. Under the plan, producers would take on the responsibility as early as 2023.
With that, Biliko said the municipality need not necessarily take drastic action.
“We’re going to try to do our best to curb our costs,” Biliko said. “At the end of the day, that number is going to be what it is.”
Waste Connections also has recycling contracts in Algonquin Highlands and Highlands East.