Blowing in the Wind – Township Explores Recycling Issues

Complaints from residents about recycling litter on the streets and in the ditches of Cavan Monaghan have been common since the switch to the new Recycling Collection Service provider last fall.

In January, township staff sent a letter to Peterborough County which provides waste management services to the township seeking solutions to contain recycling debris in blue boxes on the street prior to collection that blows around in windy weather, creating unsightly litter on our roads.

In their response of March 6th, Manager of Waste Management Services Kasper Franciskiewicz explained the County’s reluctance to implement the bagging solution recommended to eliminate the issue.  Collectors prefer the visibility of blue box contents that is loose which allows them to easily identify and remove inappropriately placed items; there is a tendency to exceed weight limits on blue box contents when placed in bags, and the bags create the added expense of cutting bags open to remove contents for processing. The recommendation to address the issue was to stack heavier blue boxes on top of lighter ones or to hold back recycling containers during windy weather until the following collection date.

Durham region has taken a different approach to this issue.  They are currently conducting a pilot program using customized lids to contain recyclables in the blue boxes.  Northumberland County has gone a step further.  They introduced a voluntary lid option in January without bothering to run a pilot.  With 3800 homes in their jurisdiction, they ordered 5000 lids which were offered to residents at their cost of $3.  Within a few hours the announcement of their availability, all lids were sold, so another batch has been ordered.  Recycling lids and containers are not available from them at this time due to CoVid restrictions, but the program seems to have been very well received.

Township staff is following up with Durham region to hear about their experience and hope if it is deemed a success, Peterborough County will follow suit.  KG

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