“I was originally opposed to mandatory recycling,” said Coun. Randy Donauer. “But now that we have a program in place for single-family homes we need to follow through and be consistent across the city. If we’re going to do it we have to do it for everybody.”
A city report, to be debated on May 28, puts forward five options to council. The options range from a mandatory recycling program for multi-units – which would have non-profit Cosmopolitan Industries as the sole processor of all recyclable materials collected – to not mandating any program at all while providing incentives for multi-unit dwellings to choose Cosmo as their processor. Other options include folding the multi-unit recycling into garbage pickup, offering a voluntary subscription service or mandating that multi-unit dwellings must recycle, but leaving it up to them to decide which private company to recycle with.
The only option proposed by the city’s environmental services department that mirrors the recently approved single-family homes program is a mandatory program that covers all apartment, condo and townhouse developments in Saskatoon.
Such a program would be developed with “a menu of options” for how to handle collection and the location of containers – communal bins or individual carts or blue boxes – that will provide “flexibility to owners.”
Donauer said the citywide mandatory program is the only option he supports. The key is to make the program close in price to the program for single-family homes, which starts at $3.83 per month per home in 2013.
“I just want consistency,” Donauer said.
If such a program is implemented, Donauer said the city would have to determine what to do with townhouse or apartment complexes – or individual townhouse owners – already serviced by Loraas.
The complexes could be forced to switch to the city program “when the contract terminates,” Donauer said.
Coun. Ann Iwanchuk said she is still waiting to hear from apartment, condo and townhouse associations. The city posed the full report online two weeks ago to solicit feedback.
But Iwanchuk said she wants to see existing recycling contracts honoured and fees to remain stable if a full citywide program is put in place. Iwanchuk cited a 36unit apartment-condo complex that has a contract in place for the pickup of a communal recycling container at $36 per month or $1 per unit. A city program could be $4 to $5 per month per unit, she said.
“I don’t think it’s reasonable for city council to impose higher rates for people,” Iwanchuk said. “I would certainly fight that. That’s not fair.”
Council last month agreed to enter into negotiations with Cosmo to be the service provider for multi-unit dwellings, ensuring any program will use dual-stream or source-separated system where paper is separated from other materials and glass is not collected. This is different from the singlebin system all single-family homes will have in the contract with Loraas Recycle.
Ken Gryschuk, a spokesperson for Cosmo, said the organization supports the citywide mandatory program as the best option.
The collection and container-type would not be a “one size fits all solution,” Gryschuk said. Cosmo will also lobby for a bylaw change to require new apartments and townhouse complexes to provide space for recycling containers on the property, he said.
A multi-unit program will be more expensive to administer, but Gryschuk said there could be ways to make it cost competitive with the program for single-family homes.
“Our goal is to drive the cost down as much as possible,” he said.
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