What we expect to happen next year is a reflection of what was accomplished (or not) this year, so let’s look at what’s on the list in the coming months.
Multi-Material Recycling Program (MMRP)
The Multi-Material Recycling Program officially starts on January 1– meaning that municipalities will start getting cheques to cover some of their recycling expenses for paper, plastics, glass and metal packaging. Multi-Material Stewardship Western (MMSW) submitted a program plan to the Ministry of Environment in August 2013 and it was approved in December of that year. The plan gave MMSW a year to get all the ducks in a row for a January 1 start. It’s been a busy year for everyone involved in the MMRP process – government, municipalities, businesses and MMSW. 314 municipalities, representing 68% of the population, have signed up to receive funds and 370 businesses (not all of them by a long shot) have signed up to pay into the program. Not all the little quackers are standing at attention yet, but there are enough of them assembled to get started January 1. Expect lots of growing pains in 2015.
Multi-Family Housing Unit Recycling
Regina’s multi-family housing units (apartments and condos) are all supposed to be signed up for single stream recycling by January 1. This deadline was directed at all the landlords, who are charged with proving to the City that they have contracted for recycling services for their building. In leaving these arrangements to the private sector (landlords and recycling service providers), Regina has mostly kept out of it and hasn’t had to administer or set rates for multi-residential recycling.
January 1 is also the date that Saskatoon’s multi-family units are expected to have access to single stream recycling. Saskatoon took a much different approach than Regina and gave an exclusive nine-year contract to Cosmopolitan Industries to provide recycling service for multi-family units. This program will be funded by a charge to residential utility bills and subsidized by funds from the MMRP. Cosmo started rolling out the program in November and is just finishing up with distributing the bins.
Kindersley residents will get carts for curbside recycling. (Technically, they’re starting December 22 to get ahead of the Christmas recyclables). This brings our count of Saskatchewan communities with curbside recycling to 104 (it’s a rough count, but if anything, it’s an underestimate). Conspicuous by their absence are several of Saskatchewan’s larger communities (not naming names).
2015 will also bring:
- Tweaks and refinements to the program to collect antifreeze, antifreeze containers and DEF containers. These items were added to the SARRC (used oil materials recycling) program in 2014 and collection systems are coming together.
- New or renovated SARCAN depots. This is a safe bet, as they have a strong program for renewals and upgrades, as the recent openings of the new depot in Weyburn and renovated depot in Redvers demonstrate.
- More stockpiles of tires being cleaned up around the province as the Sask. Scrap Tire Corp continues its Black Gold Rush program. In 2014, they collected 114,000 plus scrap tires from 44 rural municipalities in the south eastern part of the province.
- The paint recycling program, operated by Product Care, will have a new name and a new look. They spent a good deal of 2014, in addition to running a successful paint recycling and reuse program, developing the new materials.
- The electronics recycling folks (Electronic Products Recycling Association) have been tracking product trends and noting that, in general, electronic products are getting lighter. Even the larger screen TVs weigh less than the old cabinet TVs. Each new product iteration is sleeker and lighter. Overall, smaller things use less materials, so the trend is a good one. Add to that the fact that many of today's smaller electronics offer the combined capability of what 2-3 products did just a few years ago it means that tracking recycling by weight may produce misleading results. Look for the electronics recycling industry in 2015 to be researching and advancing new measures such as access and awareness to show their program results.
There’s no question that 2015 will be a busy year. If the speed at which 2014 whirred by is any indication, I’ll be back here writing the year in review before you know it!