Councillor disturbed by lack of recycling
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | April 6, 2017
Concerns about Minden businesses not sorting recyclables from garbage, destined for the Scotch Line landfill, were raised at the March 30 Minden Hills council meeting.
It came up in a discussion about tipping fees for compaction trucks and bins.
Coun. Jeanne Anthon said she found it quite disturbing that some businesses do not appear to be separating out recycling from waste and it is being picked up by commercial operators and dumped at the landfill. This prompted Ivan Ingram, environmental and property operations manager, to say he would be talking to businesses and the contractor that picks up their bins.
During the meeting, council voted to change the fees. It used to be $25 per cubic yard for loads with less than six per cent of recyclables and $50 for loads of more than six per cent. The new fee is a flat $35 per cubic yard. Dirty loads will still be charged $50. Ingram told The Highlander this week that he wrote the businesses and contractors in 2016 when the fees were doubled for unsorted loads and bags.
“I will contact the businesses again this month to let them know the fees are going up to $35 for sorted and $50 unsorted (over six per cent recyclable). The fee will go into effect June 1, this will allow people to prepare for the hike,” Ingram said.
During another lengthy debate about the landfill, Ward 3 Coun. Jean Neville asked why the municipality bothered to implement a clear bag policy when it doesn’t appear to care about recycling, particularly at Scotch Line.
Ingram replied the clear bags are so landfill operators and township staff can see into the bags, rather than having to open black bags to check for recyclables.
The definition of a clean or dirty load is causing problems at the landfill, with disputes between contractors and landfill attendants about the six per cent ratio.
Ingram has tended to side with the contractors, saying he is not seeing six per cent or more recyclables in loads and it is subjective.
“The major issue is determining that six per cent,” Ingram said. For example, he said there would have to be 52 contaminated garbage bags in a load of 850 garbage bags, per 25 cubic yards, to reach the six per cent mark and he doesn’t think that’s happening, although he conceded “we could definitely do better.”
He said the township sent 100 additional tons of recyclables to Bracebridge last year, reduced residuals by 20 tons and brought in 400 tons less garbage. He added that he looked at other municipalities and “if we’re not leading the pack, I don’t know who is.”
Sensitive to criticism the township is subsidizing compactor truck and bin operators, both Ingram and CAO Lorrie Blanchard maintain that if anything, the construction sector is being subsidized.
The debate also prompted councillor-at-large, Ron Nesbitt, to ask whether the contractor is accessing the landfill after hours to dump its trucks and bins. Ingram called that a “false statement.” He said no loads are being brought in during off hours, however, the contractor does come to remove blue bins to be taken for recycling in Bracebridge.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.