Recycling crisis hits Haliburton County
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | June 6, 2019|
A worldwide crisis of crashed markets for recycling has hit Minden Hills, with Garbutt Disposal telling council and staff May 30 it plans to close its Lochlin recycling facility, likely in the fall.
Owner Jim Garbutt made a presentation to the regular council meeting, pitching that the alternative is the municipality take over the facility.
Garbutt Disposal has recycled mixed paper and corrugated cardboard for the township for about 15 years.
“Recently, all recyclable materials have become a major problem in Canada over the Iast year due to flooded markets and no demand, which in turn means higher processing fees to compensate for the loss in revenue,” Garbutt told council and staff at the meeting. He added, “small businesses need to make money.”
Garbutt said he had spent four days prior to the meeting going over the books. He said their cost to process one ton of baled corrugated cardboard is $105. However, their current price for their product in Toronto is $90 per ton, which he says is the best price currently available. So, they’re losing $15 per ton.
Garbutt added that “most end markets are paying $50 for OCC [corrugated cardboard] and $50 to negative $30 for mixed paper. Our sources have told us that prices will continue to go Iower for quite some time before they level off.”
Garbutt added the Iast load of mixed paper they shipped to Toronto resulted in them losing approximately $3,000 on that load because it sat on a truck in Lindsay for two weeks while they searched for someone who would take it. They got nothing for it.
“This is the reason we have decided to eliminate the mixed paper portion at our Lochlin recycling site. We would be able to continue with corrugated cardboard recycling at our site but we would require a processing fee of $100 a ton. This would keep us going through the upcoming busy season and then we would see if it is feasible to continue.”
He said the other proposal is for the municipality to take over the facility. By running the plant, he said the township would have control over processing fees for paper and cardboard for years to come. The operation could be contracted out so municipal staff would not be required, Garbutt said.
“This is something we could have discussions on. The municipality would also get the revenue from the product.”
If something cannot be worked out, Garbutt Disposal said it will require space at the Minden Hills landfill to dump the cardboard they collect from businesses in Minden with their compactor truck.
“Summer is fast approaching, so we need to know as soon as possible what direction we are to proceed in.”
Mayor Brent Devolin said although he is disappointed at the news, he’s not surprised. He has seen the recent CBC news reports about the growing recycling crisis, not just in Canada but around the world. He said council welcomed the information, and can understand where Garbutt is coming from. They also appreciate that the business is not shutting down immediately, but giving council time. He added that Garbutt had given them a lot to digest in his presentation and a staff report will come back to council. Devolin went on to say that landfill issues are “kind of the elephant in the room” and it is something that will need a regional response.
Coun. Pam Sayne agreed it’s a bigger problem. She said she had travelled to the Philippines, which in the past had accepted Canadian recyclables but is now shutting its doors. She noted there are also jobs at stake in our community.
In early January, The Highlander reported on how the crisis is also affecting Highlands East, Algonquin Highlands and Dysart. At that time, Highlands East had spent nearly $20,000 more in processing fees in 2018, compared to 2017. AH said it wasn’t overly worried and was expecting a slight increase related to the CPI. Dysart was looking to spend an additional $31,000 in 2018, compared to 2017.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.