January 18, 2016 7:58 pm

Ready or not: multi-family recycling soon mandatory in Calgary

Sarah Offin, Global News
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CALGARY – There’s something new rolling out at apartments, townhouses and condos around Calgary.

Recycling for multi-family units must be in place by Feb. 1 according to a new city bylaw.

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“We allowed 16 months between when the bylaw was approved from when we’re going to enforce to allow that uptake of service to multi-family complexes,” said Parnell Legg, a waste diversion specialist with the City of Calgary.

The city suggests about 40 per cent of condo boards are already on board and more are likely waiting for the February deadline.

BluPlanet is among dozens of private companies specializing in multi-family recycling removal. It picked up contacts for over 10,000 new homes in 2015.

“It’s been astronomical,” said Stuart Van Berkle, operations manager for BluPlanet Recycling.  “The growth has been almost too much to handle at some points.”

He worries many condo units are late setting up recycling contracts – and may have a difficult time finding a company able to take them on by the end of the month.

“I think there are some buildings that are a little more behind but… we’re doing about 50 new buildings a month so that’s pretty much all we handle for now. I think some other companies are getting pretty busy as well,” said Van Berkle.

It’s a challenge for condo boards – fitting the new cost into the budget as well as fitting the bins into their complexes.

“I think, in most condominiums, the space is very limited. I mean, most were built to only accommodate the garbage bins,” said Marian Rodriguez, a property manager with Diversified Management Southern. The company oversees over 50 properties and she said most are prepared for the new bylaw.

The city said there will be an education period, but $250 fines could be considered by animal and bylaw services if condo boards are not in compliance.

It could be a big adjustment.

“Most of our condominiums have started this recycling business around the end of December through January,” said Rodriguez. “We’re finding a lot of people are using the recycling bin as their garbage disposal.”

Rodriguez suggested condo boards in compliance haven’t seen any big reduction in waste so far, but stresses education will be important going forward.

If the bylaw works, the city suggests about 25 per cent of waste from multi-family homes can be diverted from landfills.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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