Reports that much of Red Deer’s recycling materials are ending up in the landfill are not true, the City of Red Deer waste management superintendent said on Wednesday.
A concerned resident told the Red Deer Advocate that a lot of recyclables that people place in blue boxes are going to the landfill.
Janet Whitesell said some things are thrown into the blue boxes that cannot be recycled.
“And then when you are sorting it, you can’t capture everything,” said Whitesell.
In November 2010, Waste Management of Canada (a subsidiary of Waste Management, Inc., the largest environmental services company in North America) became responsible for picking up, sorting and marketing the recyclable goods recovered from Red Deer’s blue box program.
The company has a five-year contract with the city, with two one-year extensions possible.
Within that contract, Waste Management must limit the amount of residuals to five per cent. “So we expect that up to five per cent of what gets collected in the trucks will actually be garbage,” said Whitesell.
Transitioning to a new sorting facility about a year ago required the company to work some kinks out.
“There certainly has been growing pains, but we have a contract that’s very clear of our expectations,” said Whitesell. “I know they have had some equipment challenges.”
Whitesell said the city stays on top of what’s happening.
“We’re in constant communication with that contractor.”
The city is negotiating with Waste Management on expanding the types of recyclables, particularly plastics, that can go into the blue boxes.
It’s important to have stable markets that will accept those materials, Whitesell said.
Meanwhile, more public input will be sought before the final draft of the Waste Management Master Plan comes to city council, expected in May. By adopting the plan, city would commit to a 2023 target of 500 kg from 817 kg, or 40 per cent reduction in waste per-capita.