CORNWALL, Ontario – At their meeting on Monday, June 10, Cornwall City Council voted in favour of implementing a pilot program for public recycling.
Council was presented with three options by administration, one for only plastic bottles, one that allowed recyclable plastics and paper to be put in a single container and a dual stream system that would see bins installed for plastics and separate bins for recyclable paper.
Council first considered the single-stream option, which would have cost the City $27,540 and would have covered new recycling bins, educational information and stickers and money to cover the salary of a summer student, whose job it would have been to educate the public on the use of the recycling bins.
Single-stream recycling is currently what is implemented for residents who recycle in their homes.
Councillor Carilyne Hébert, who initially asked administration for a report costing single-stream and dual-stream options said she supported single-stream, even though she would prefer to “go big or go home” with the dual-stream.
Councillor Elaine MacDonald however, wanted to see the pilot program use option one and only use bins for recyclable bottles.
“I would like to see us recycle beverage containers only,” she said. “We will have less contamination that way. You will have plastics you can’t recycle. I think the projection is 30 per cent contamination. That’s garbage. The process is a dead end.”
Administration in their report cited contamination of paper recyclables as a concern with single-stream recycling.
“Currently due to poor market conditions for fibre (paper products), fibre is only being accepted if it has no contamination and no moisture content,” the administration report reads.
Mayor Bernadette Clement made her intentions clear, stating that her preferred option would be Option 3, which would see a dual-stream system for plastics and paper.
“I feel that if you’re going to do something, you should do it right,” she said. “I like the idea of doing a trial and a waste audit, but we are coming up on our busy festival season and I want to get this right.”
Councillor Elaine MacDonald still felt however that Option 1 would be the best fit for success.
“It is cheaper for corporations to use first hand plastics than second hand plastics,” she said. “Until the government puts some regulations on this, and there is a return on bottles, I don’t think there will be a real change in behaviour.”
Ultimately, Option 3 was passed by a margin of seven councillors in favour and three opposed.
Option 3 has a total cost of $43,500 which includes the purchase of 26 new recycling containers at City recreational facilities and 20, 95 gallon carts for use at the Cornwall Civic Complex, the Benson Centre and at special events.
The City will also purchase 18 recycle bins for beverage containers and 18 for paper products that will be placed alongside the 12 garbage bins located along Pitt St. and in Lamoureux Park.
City Administration will evaluate the program in October 2019 and return to Council with a report in early 2020.