Changes are coming to the Border City’s recycling program in the new year.
The city has agreed to a new contract with GFL Environmental Inc. for curbside collection and with it comes changes on what can be put in the blue bags.
Plastic #1 and #2, mixed paper, cardboard, paperboard and tin cans will be the only items accepted for recycling. Collections for plastics #3, #4, #5, #6, #7 and glass will not be accepted. The number of plastics can be found on the bottom of the item in the middle of the recycling symbol.
“What’s happened is the market for recyclables has changed dramatically since we’ve been collecting,” says Mayor Gerald Aalbers. “People can still put newspaper, cardboard, metal cans after they’ve been washed and cleaned into the blue bags. Glass, plastics #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7 will go into the garbage.”
The city received two proposals for the contract with both of them indicating significant increases in the processing costs for recyclables. They say purity/quality requirements for recyclables have changed and a diminishing market for certain types of plastics are the reasons for the changes.
“It’s important to make the process better and at the end, there’s a financial implication for the city if we don’t get people switched over. The contractor has been dealing with it for some time in the current contract. Now going into a new contract it’s been emphasized that we have to work with them on those plastics.”
GFL Environmental received the contract at a cost of $21 million over a period of ten years. The ten-year contract is also a change as previous contracts ran for a period of seven years. Aalbers says there are clauses in place to protect the interests of the city and taxpayers if any problems should occur.
The changes go into effect in March 2020 after the current collection contract expires. The city will be communicating with residents to notify them of the changes in February.