City aims to have recycling plan for condo dwellers by 2016

The city hopes a multi-family recycling plan expected to be in place by 2016 will keep the approximately 17,000 tonnes of recyclable materials that were sent to landfills from condos and apartments last year. Photograph by: Dean Bicknell , Calgary Herald

The city hopes a multi-family recycling plan expected to be in place by 2016 will keep the approximately 17,000 tonnes of recyclable materials that were sent to landfills from condos and apartments last year.
Photograph by: Dean Bicknell , Calgary Herald

Condo and apartment dwellers are one step closer to having their recyclables regularly hauled away after city council approved a multi-family recycling plan to take effect in 2016.

The strategy will require building owners and condo boards to arrange on-site pickup for residents through the use of private contractors.

Rob Pritchard, general manager of waste and recycling services, told council members the plan provides flexibility for building owners and condo boards to negotiate their own contract with a private provider.

Further, Pritchard said the private sector would be the most cost-effective choice because each building may have difference needs, making it “virtually impossible” for the city to design a one-size-fits-all program.

“The city is simply not equipped or geared up to deal with the variety of circumstances that exist in the multi-family sector,” said Pritchard.

“There would be a huge administrative cost to us, which we’re able to avoid by staying out of the process,” he added. “We’re very sure that we could not be as competitive or as flexible or as responsive as the number of players in the private sector.”

Mayor Naheed Nenshi cautioned administration to be flexible when drafting bylaw amendments, particularly around townhouses that may have a variety of needs.

“Depending on their legal structure, freehold versus condominium, they could look the same but have different varieties of service provided to them,” Nenshi said.

“They’re the ones I’m worried about because I understand from a number of people who live in townhouses that they have not been able yet to find a private provider who is going to do that kind of door-to-door pickup instead of roll-off bins.”

According to the city, about 35 per cent of Calgary’s multi-family buildings currently offer some recycling services through a private contractor. But residents who live in buildings without the service have to haul their recyclables to one of the city’s community depots.

The city estimates that multi-family residences sent roughly 78,000 tonnes of garbage to landfills in 2012. About 22 per cent, or 17,000 tonnes, of that waste is believed to be recyclable material.

The strategy will see the city spend $700,000 on advertising and education in its first year, and $350,000 annually on management and enforcement.

City administration have until the end of September to amend Calgary’s waste and recycling bylaw, develop education and communication plans for residents, as well as a community recycling depot reduction plan.

 

Source: Calgary Herald

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