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Curbside recycling discontinued in Lacombe

BLue Box 

Lacombe, Alberta (May 27, 2019) –Council yesterday voted to allow the contract with Environmental 360 Solutions for curbside recycling collection to expire at the end of its term on May 31, 2019, and directed City administration to monitor the state of the recycling industry and report on opportunities to re-establish residential curb side recycling in Lacombe when viable.

In 2018, Canada’s recycling industry was substantially impacted by a change in policy in China and other countries, which have effectively closed their borders to typical wholesale recycling products from Canada. Recyclers have also adjusted by reviewing their sorting standards, and by focusing their efforts on recycling material which has a more certain wholesale market.  Overall, this means recyclers are accepting fewer materials for a higher cost.

“Council made this difficult decision following a request for proposals process that saw only one bid submitted to collect fewer types of recyclables for a 66 per cent increased in costs,” said Mayor Grant Creasey. “I want people to appreciate the fact that Council is not turning its back on recycling. Due to the challenges faced by the recycling industry nation-wide, only a fraction of the materials currently placed in residential blue bins is actually recycled, therefore significant changes are needed to Lacombe’s residential recycling program if it is to continue.”

The City is also conducting a comprehensive solid waste system review, which will provide more information to help set the future direction of solid waste collection in Lacombe. 

“In the interim, residents are encouraged to use their blue boxes to drop off accepted recyclable materials at the Wolf Creek Recycle Site, located at 5214 Wolf Creek Drive,” said Jordan Thompson, Director of Operations and Planning. “The City will also be emphasizing existing but underutilized waste diversion programs such as home composting in the coming weeks.”

The Wolf Creek Recycle Site service provider, Waste Management, accepts the following types of recyclables:

  • Aluminum cans - clean and empty
  • PET bottles with the symbol #1 - with screw tops only - empty
  • HDPE plastic bottles with the symbol #2 (milk, water bottles detergent, and shampoo bottles, etc.) - clean and empty
  • Steel and tin cans - clean and empty
  • Phone books
  • Magazines, glossy inserts and pamphlets
  • Newspaper
  • Mail
  • Uncoated paperboard (ex. cereal boxes; food and snack boxes)
  • Uncoated printing, writing and office paper
  • Old corrugated containers/ cardboard (uncoated)

DO NOT include:

  • Bagged recyclables
  • Plastic bags or film
  • Disposable coffee cups
  • Glass jars
  • Scrap metals
  • Electronics & batteries
  • Styrofoam
  • Paper plates
  • Light bulbs
  • Wood waste
  • Tissues/paper towels
  • Household Hazardous Waste
  • Plasticized, waxed and laminated material
  • Mirrors, ceramics, window glass or Pyrex

The sustainability of recycling programs is dependent upon collecting high quality recyclable materials free of unacceptable materials. Please follow these four steps:

1.            Remove lids and caps from bottles and cans.

2.            Empty and rinse containers. Labels can be left on.

3.            Place recyclables loose in the recycling bin. Do not put them in bags.

4.            Flatten cardboard boxes.

With the discontinuation of the curbside collection service, a surplus in the Solid Waste Utility is expected at year-end. Council will review the surplus during the 2020 budget deliberations this fall to determine how to allocate it, which may include enhancements to the Wolf Creek Recycle Site, other sustainability initiatives, or adjusting utility rates moving forward. 

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