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City will now landfill clamshell plastics it paid $330K to store

Aug. 20, 2019

After spending $330,000 to store them in hopes of finding a recycling solution, the city will now bury previously collected clamshell plastics.

City officials said they made the decision to dump 2,000 tonnes of the material into landfills starting this month after a concerted effort to land a cost-effective recycling alternative proved in vain.

“This is the first time we’ve had to landfill material due to market issues, and we are just as disappointed as many Calgarians will be about this,” Sharon Howland, leader of program management with waste and recycling services, said in a statement on the City of Calgary’s website.

“Our priority has always been to keep all recyclable materials out of the landfill.”

The city, she said, examined 50 alternatives but none was feasible in reducing the stockpile of plastic packaging used primarily to contain produce and baked goods.

She noted the city and its material sorting partner, Cascades Recovery, found a company last spring, Merlin Plastics, to recycle the clamshell plastics collected by the blue box program since last April and into the future.

But the volume of the plastics previously collected since September 2017 that had been stored in 100 semi-trailers rented by the city proved too much to be disposed of in a cost-effective manner, said Howland.

Burying the material — which accounts for one to two per cent of all recyclables collected — will cost a total of $130,000, while continuing to store them at the Shepard landfill site for another year would be a $300,000 annual expense, said city officials.

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