By Chad Ingram
Published June 22 2018
Some Minden Hills residents have noticed a change in operations at the township’s landfills that began last weekend.
While residents previously put items such as plastic planters flower trays Styrofoam packaging and other such materials into the plastics recycling bins as of last weekend they were told such items were no longer acceptable as recycling and are to be put in the chipping pile at the Scotch Line landfill.
A number of disgruntled people were putting such items some with recyclable emblems clearly marked on them into the large pile on Monday morning.
"Anything that comes from the house inside that's plastic can be recycled anything that’s outside that's plastic cannot be recycled" resident Lynne Roche told the Times repeating what she was told at the landfill. “I said ’how can that be?’ He said this is what we were told and he quoted this beautiful line … about due to the expense they are no longer accepting recyclables as recyclables.”
Roche was upset enough that she is talking to neighbours about making a delegation to Minden Hills council.
“I have a bunch of friends and will ask them all what they think about it” she said. “I think if that’s something that we all feel strongly about we go to the [council] meeting and tell them as citizens that it’s not acceptable to us.”
“Somebody should do something” Roche continued. “I left them [the recyclables] there next to the towering pile of other plastic things that you could see . . . As I came home I thought this is nuts” she said.
“We all say isn’t it terrible about what’s going on [in the world] but we look to the other guy to do their fair share instead of looking to us and speaking up and saying this isn’t OK with us. “
However Minden Hills environment and property operations manager Ivan Ingram told the paper that such items were never acceptable as recyclable since the township doesn’t pay for that particular recycling stream.
“None of these were acceptable before” Ingram wrote in an email to the paper. “Plastic planters packing Styrofoam plastic lawn chairs and storage containers vinyl siding there is not a stream available to us for these products. While it would seem that if it’s plastic it’s recyclable it’s not always the case.
“Larger urban areas have some of these streams available to them by sheer population. The materials are purchased and sold on a grander scale so there’s a market for it and they are close to it.”
According to Ingram those materials go in the landfill or in the chipping pile where they are chipped into small pieces used for cover.
“As far as streams go there are streams for almost all products most are too costly for smaller municipalities to afford” he wrote. “Currently we pay for trucking and processing. If we had to ship it to say Toronto our costs would triple.”
Ingram pointed toward the province’s Waste Free Ontario Act which includes the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act and Waste Diversion Transition Act. A circular economy means making companies “responsible for the end-of-life management of their products and packaging” according to a release from the province.
The legislation is to be phased in.
“It will make the manufacturers 100 per cent responsible for recycling their packaging as well as products” Ingram told the paper. “It’s a good plan it’s just going to take some time to get it done.”
Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin told the paper that once the township receives approval from the provincial government for its 25-year management plan of the Scotch Line landfill council will be having discussions about changes to operations there including the potential adoption of more recycling streams.
“When we receive approval from the province on our 25-year landfill management plan we begin a discussion on a path to implementing the plan” Devolin wrote. “This will begin a conversation about all matters that are related to capital and operational changes at the Scotch Line landfill. Available recycling streams will be one of the major considerations in future operations. Greenhouse gases net zero waste etc. are more recent changes to provincial legislation that will also be a huge discussion on future landfill practices.”