City of Kawartha Lakes overhauls recycling program

The City of Kawartha Lakes is making major changes to its recycling program. Global News File

The City of Kawartha Lake’s new recycling contract with GFL, the North American environmental solutions company that will receive and process the materials, started on Sept. 8.

That means many things that were once collected in your blue box won’t be anymore.

“We’re certainly on the right path right now,” Coun. Tracy Richardson said. “People are making decisions in their homes.  They’re buying less single-use plastics. People are aware of what’s happening and everyone is making that solid effort.”

READ MORE: City of Regina expanding blue bin program

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“We can really start to focus on the R’s before recycling – refusing, reusing and reducing,” added Kerri Snoddy, municipal regulatory compliance officer.

Coffee cups are no longer recyclable and must be thrown in the garbage, however the lids and sleeves can still be recycled.

Styrofoam is now waste and empty aerosol cans must now be disposed of as household hazardous waste at the Lindsay Ops or Fenelon landfills.

Another change to curbside waste and recycling is residents will only be allowed up to a maximum of 10 per cent of recyclable materials in each clear bag of waste.

“Previously, we were allowing 20 per cent recyclables in each clear bag of waste and it’s been that way since we started our clear bag program in 2017. We are now moving it down,” Snoddy added.

“We really want to capture that recyclable material that can be recycled. Now that people are aware of our program, we are going to capture much more that is recyclable.”

In 2015, the municipality created a new waste management strategy with the ultimate diversion goal of 70 per cent by 2048.

“Since 2015, we’ve managed to reduce our footprint by five per cent,” Richardson said. “When you’re reducing that waste going to our landfills, it’s a savings down the road for the city. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

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The diversion rate right now is 44 per cent, up from 39 in 2015.

“When we implemented the clear bag program in the first year, we saw 20 per cent less waste being produced curbside.  We significantly reduced the garbage going into the landfill. Over the years, we’ve seen that maintained,” added Snoddy.  “It’s been successful in reducing waste and improving safety for those picking up the materials.”

Miller Waste will continue to be the provider that picks up the materials at the curb.

In July, the municipality stopped accepting tires at the landfill sites. Tire producers are now responsible for the recycling of tires.

Construction and demolition waste, including painted and unpainted wood, shingles and concrete, is available at the Lindsay Ops landfill site.

As for garbage, the municipality is allowing an extra bag of garbage during the coronavirus pandemic.

So residents can put out three clear bags without bag tags for now.

All landfill sites reopened to the public over the summer.

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