New Waste Management Contract Incentivizes Better Recycling Practice

On November 1st, the new waste management contractor began collecting and selling recycling for Peterborough County through a joint contract with the City of Peterborough which owns the Material Recovery Facility on Pido Road. The City and County have an agreement where the County is permitted to deliver Blue Box materials to the City’s facility in exchange for paying a share of its capital and operating costs.

Emterra, took over the program after the expiration of a ten-year contract with the former service provider after winning the contract through a public bidding process.  The new contract includes the collection of material as well as its disposal, with a revenue-sharing formula helping to offset the dramatic price increase of collecting and processing recycling materials.  The net annual cost increase of $638,244 under the new contract represents a 37% increase over the previous year’s expenditure, and reflects current market conditions.

The revenue-sharing component of the contract provides an incentive to municipalities to ensure their Blue Box program provides well-sorted, high quality, clean materials, as higher quality materials will result in higher revenues.

Because Emterra is also highly motivated to pick up only high quality, sale-able product, residents may notice more items left behind in their Blue Boxes.  This prevents double-handling of non-recyclable materials that adds unnecessary costs to the program.  Blue Box collectors are trained to sort materials and will exercise judgement in selecting only recyclable product in their collection.

Ultimately residents pay these costs, so the better we sort at the curbside, the lower the net expenditures for this service will be.

Let’s do our part.  Here is a brief summary of how to sort our refuse to contribute to lowering this cost.

The County requires recycling into two boxes: Containers and Fibres.

Containers include clear and coloured food and drink bottles and jars, plastics include tubs and lids from yogurt spreads, dips, sour cream and margarine, jugs from water, juice, pop, lotion, shampoo and laundry detergent.  Juice and milk cartons, drinking and broth boxes, coffee cups but no lids, take out cold drink cups, pre-cut fruit and vegetable trays and baked goods containers – even black ones.  Metal items include food and drink cans, aluminum foil products, dry, empty paint cans and lids, and empty aerosol cans. All containers should be empty and rinsed.

All items in the fibre box should be flattened.  All food, shoe and shipping boxes are recyclable, as are printed paper, envelopes, flyers, paper rolls, newspapers, and magazines.  Shredded paper should be placed in clear plastic bags that are tied up. Plastic bags should be placed in a single bag tied shut, and can include toilet paper and water bottle overwrap, soil, and water softener bags

Items that cannot be recycled are any single use disposable plastic cups, Styrofoam, chip bags, wrappers and liners from cereal and cracker boxes.

Materials must be kept loose in Blue Boxes- bagged material will not be taken (see exceptions in Fibres & Plastics Section).  In windy weather this can create problems, but the cost of removing recyclables from bags has historically added tens of thousands of dollars to processing costs.

Still have questions?  There is a searchable portal on the County website at where you can find out if that Christmas present from your great-great aunt qualifies as recycling or not…. KG

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