Saskatoon council to vote on changes to curbside recycling program

City council will vote on changes to Saskatoon's curbside recycling program later this month.

Committee recommends plan that would raise monthly rates to anywhere from $7 to $7.50 a month

Saskatoon city council will vote on the city's recycling program later this month. (Courtney Markewich/CBC)

City council will vote on changes to Saskatoon's curbside recycling program later this month.

On Monday morning, councillors on the city's standing policy committee on environment, utilities and corporate services recommended to move the item forward to council.

The City of Saskatoon is in the final stages of negotiating a new contract for curbside recycling. The new plan would raise recycling rates from the current rate of $5.66 per month to anywhere from $7 to $7.50.

City administration said the cost increase is due to lower prices for recycled materials.

Russ Munro, director of waste operations with the city, presented councillors with a number of options, including banning plastics #3, 4, 5 and 7 from the system, as well as glass.

Munro told councillors the plastics, which include everything from condiment squeeze bottles to Tupperware, are currently being stockpiled because no one will buy them.

"The hope is that there will be a market in the future," Munro told the committee. "If there is, then they'll be recycled at that time as markets turn around."

The report noted that those plastics only make up about 1.5 per cent of the city's recycling stream, and any savings garnered by removing them from the stream would be outstripped by costs from enhanced education campaigns.

While the city said it has selected a "preferred vendor" for the updated curbside program, it won't release the company's identity until council accepts the recommendations.

The new recycling contract would run for seven years, with the option to extend the time limit to 10 years. Loraas Recycling currently holds the contract.

Councillors asked city administration to report back on any marketing plans to communicate why these changes are being made to the program.

Councillors also recommended continuing a program with SARCAN that sees the recycling group accept glass recycling in exchange for a grant estimated at between $30,000 to $40,000 per year. 

City administration said much of the glass is broken during the current recycling process, which means most of it ends up in the landfill.

Council will vote on the changes on Sept. 30.