Saskatoon

Environment committee recommends plan requiring Saskatoon businesses to recycle

Saskatoon's environment committee is recommending city council approve a plan that would require businesses to begin recycling.

Amendment to waste bylaw would come into effect in 2021

The city says the plan would raise the civic garbage diversion rate from 22 per cent to 27 per cent. (Josh Pagé/CBC)

Saskatoon's environment committee is recommending city council approve a plan that would require businesses to begin recycling.

The recommendation would amend the waste bylaw to require businesses to have separate recycling containers.

Businesses would have a year to comply. Businesses that generate food or yard waste would also need a third bin by 2022.

The plan is intended to divert material away from the city landfill and prolong its life. 

North Saskatoon Business Association executive director Keith Moen told the committee his organization supports the recommendation.

Moen said one of the reasons for the support is that prolonging the life of the landfill will save taxpayers in the long run.

"We want to defer that decision [of a new landfill] as long as we possibly can."

The recommendation would amend the waste bylaw to require businesses to have separate recycling containers. (Courtney Markewich/CBC)

The city says almost a quarter of the materials going to the city landfill are from the Industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sector.

Katie Burns, special projects manager with the city, told the committee that most ICI stakeholders consulted by the city (62 per cent) wanted to keep the status quo approach of voluntary recycling and organics.

Burns said stakeholders were concerned about space, time and the increased costs of mandatory recycling.

She said the second choice for stakeholders is the recommendation going to council.

Other options presented to councillors included follow-ups from city environmental officers — rather than relying solely on complaints — or ordering all businesses to submit a waste diversion plan to the city.

Moen said the recommended option was easily the most amenable to businesses, saying it has, "the minimal amount of regulatory regime and the minimal amount of cost associated with it."

Mayor Charlie Clark said knowing the NSBA is supporting the recommendation, "gives me some hope that we can do this without a lot of consternation."

Clark said he was happy to hear that businesses felt that they had been heard during the consultation process.

Burns said the recommended plan was easiest to understand, most straightforward to implement and was designed to have some flexibility in controlling costs.

"We also found it was the easiest for administration to develop and implement and therefore took the lowest number of resources."

The city's says the plan will raise the civic garbage diversion rate from 22 per cent to 27 per cent.

Similar programs have been adopted in other cities like Calgary and Halifax.

It the plan is approved, the city would have education blitzes to help businesses comply with the proposed bylaw amendments.

The cost of implementing the plan is estimated to cost between $790,000 to $910,000.

And the estimated annual cost of the program is between $220,000 to $340,000

The recommendations will be heard at the next council meeting on Jan. 27.

with files from CBC's Guy Quenneville

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