A fight is brewing over recycling in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
After weeks of chaos and intermittent pick-up, the borough is planning to terminate the contract with Ricova for failing to honour its contract. The mayor is asking residents to cut down on recycled waste until problem is resolved later this summer.
Recycling has been piling up for weeks in the borough and residents are running out of patience.
“I was wondering if they were on strike,” said Luisa Seidl.
They say the smell is also overwhelming.
“It’s so dirty, stinky and you don’t even feel that we are living in NDG, they should pick it up.” said Rosina Bhuptani.
Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery says the problem is that Ricova, the private company hired to pick up recycling, hasn’t been honouring its contract.
“If you can’t do the job you’re out,” she said.
“We’ve given them ample chance to pull up their socks. We’ve fined them.”
The borough intends to break the current contract and hire a new recycling company — but their hands are tied until the decision can be approved at the next council meeting on Aug.20.
“The next three weeks will be hit and miss so I’m asking residents to cut back on your recycling,” said Montgomery.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Ricova claims the original bidding process was flawed.
“CDN-NDG originally asked a quotation for 6,000 tons annual pickup, and at the last minute the city made an amendment of 11,000 tons…our employee who prepared the contract never saw the amendment.”
The company says the change put them “in a bad position with this contract.”
But Montgomery says that isn’t the case.
“From our information they did see it because they told us they were sticking with the same bid,” Montgomery told Global News. “We’re down to a ‘he said she said.'”
Experts worry the problem in NDG is just the tip of the iceberg. The multinational waste management company Ricova holds recycling contracts in many South Shore municipalities — it could be just a matter of time before the recycling chaos spreads to other neighbourhoods.
“I feel a bit sad and angry because companies like Ricova and others knew what was going to happen,” said Karel Ménard, the executive director of the Quebec Coalition for Ecological Waste Management.
Prices for recycled materials have dropped drastically with the current worldwide recycling crisis. Companies like Ricova, which used to get about $150 per ton of recycled goods, are now having to pay about $40 a ton to get rid of it.
“They feel no rush to collect the recyclable material because they lose tens of thousands of dollars monthly,” Ménard said.
CDN-NDG is now paying its blue-collar workers to help pick up the pieces. The plan is to charge the recycling company for the work it has failed to do.