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Residents could see changes to recycling program

Lloydminster residents could see less recycling in the near future. A new program implemented in China will see two-thirds of North America including the city rethinking their recycling programs.

Currently, Lloydminster is one of many cities transporting their recyclables to China. However, the country’s “National Sword” Program prohibits some grades of recovered plastics and paper into the country.

The guide will see stricter regulations being imposed, which includes a 0.5 to 1 per cent contamination threshold. Currently, in practice, the country accepts a 5 per cent contamination threshold. The change will raise operating costs for the city to make sure materials being transported meet the new standards.

In response to China’s new regulations, the city is proposing to remove certain plastics from being recycled. Mayor Gerald Aalbers says the change will see more recyclables going into the garbage.

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“Anytime that we have material that has to go to our landfill that can’t be recycled it’s sad, it’s really a disappointment.”

The current recycling program allows residents to recycle plastics one and two, which include milk jugs, as well as plastics three to seven, which are things like yogurt and margarine containers. If passed, the legislation would no longer allow plastics three to seven to be recycled.

Aalbers says the solution for right now will mean some plastics will end up in the city’s landfill until another possibility if found.

“Hopefully someone will come up with a solution that might be a miniature version rather than putting in a huge plant. We can actually operate a plant in Lloydminster or a manufacturing facility that would be interested in taking those plastics and turning them into fence posts or curb stops.”

Plastics three to seven makes up 2.4 per cent of the city’s recycling and removing them will generate an average 20 tonnes per year of material for the landfill.

Aalbers says the city will work on reeducating residents on what recyclables will continue to go into the blue bag and what will go into the garbage.

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