By Justin Seward
Town of Bow Island council approved for the municipality to enter into a five-year curbside recycling service agreement with Medicine Hat’s Environment 360 Solutions at their May 25 meeting.
It was in early 2020 that a private sector company was approached to discuss providing blue bin curbside recycling service to all the utility customers in Bow Island.
It was because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, that negotiations stalled and created extra pressure on the company and their ability to provide the service.
In early 2021, there were 10 separate companies that provided the town with a quote for the blue bin recycling service and it was Environmental 360 Solutions who will provide the bi-weekly blue bin service.
“This is something we have been working on for over a year now, kind off and on talking to some different companies about providing a different service for our recycling centre,” said Dave Matz, Bow Island’s chief administrative officer.
“One of the things that we ran into in our recycling is the cost of selling the recycled goods just crashed a few years ago. (In) selling cardboards and plastics, the price we used to get for it was not too bad and covered a lot of our expenses. And then in 2019, the market dropped out and the amount of revenue we had coming in dropped significantly less than we were previously getting.”
The town was getting commodity revenue of $27,793 in 2017, only to see that number plummet to $5,750 in 2019 and back up to an estimated $8,000 in the 2021 budget.
“I don’t see any chance of that really recovering in the near future at all,” said Matz.
The company has the capability to realize higher efficiencies with the Material Recovery Facility in the Hat that the town does not have.
“They can process the recycled goods automatically, which is significantly cheaper than anything we can do,” he said.
Mayor Gordon Reynolds said since the town has been involved in operating recycling, they are constantly hearing from people that they would like to see a pick-up service.
“Our concern has always been finding a way to do it that is affordable,” said Reynolds.
“The investigations we’ve done with a couple of different companies now show us that these bigger companies have better access to markets than we’ve had. We’re confident that they’ll be able to move product.”
Reynolds added, “The big win for the town is saving on a lot of those costs that we’re currently laying out and not having the product stockpiling when we can’t find the market.”
The hope with the transition is that more people will recycle and divert material away from the landfill.
The town will be ordering bins shortly and it is anticipated to be a couple of months before the curbside service starts.
“The earliest would be the beginning of July that we’d be able to have the service going,” said Matz.
The recycling rate will remain at $5 and be reviewed in 2022.
Environmental 360 Solutions will be placing a central recycling location by the water tower.
A notice will be sent out to residents as to what materials will be accepted.
The town is uncertain as to what they will do with the existing recycling facility.
“The long-term goal is to stop operating it and go to the curbside pick-up,” said Matz.
“There will be a transition phase as we get there.”