The City of Lacombe might just kick blue boxes to the curb – or rather, off it.
City council may choose not to renew their contract with their current recycling service provider, Environmental 360 Solutions (E360S), at their next regular meeting May 27, after learning a new contract would see costs jump 66 percent from $4.50 per dwelling per month to $7.49.
Should council decide not to renew the contract with the lone company to bid for the contract, curbside recycling in the community would effectively come to an end.
“It may upset some and it’s unfortunate because, honestly, the service has not existed in the form that (citizens) would’ve thought it has for quite some time,” said City of Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey. “If there’s no market for these items, sorting them and collecting them separately is very counterproductive and goes against all the principles you’re trying to accomplish as far as reducing waste and conserving energy goes.”
The hikes, paired with a reduction in targeted items for collection – only No. 2 plastics instead of No. 1-7, no glass or non-deposit containers – come as a result of a national and increasingly global recycling crisis that began with China’s decision to impose a ban on 24 different types of waste from Canada in 2018. Prior, Canada sent half of all recycling exports to China.
While the drop in Canada’s exports to China was mitigated by a 1,000 per cent increase of exports to Malaysia, as per an investigative report by Global News, the country was unable to handle the volume and banned plastic imports. India followed, while Vietnam and Taiwan imposed restrictions on what they’ll accept.
As a result, recycling companies across the country – including Quebec where the provincial government handed the industry a $13-million bailout package, followed by another $100-million in the 2019 budget – are now finding materials hard to move, and even going as far as to pay to move materials they can’t sell to the very landfills they’re supposed to be diverting from.