Saskatoon

Saskatoon council votes to remove plastic bags from recycling program

Loraas Recycle and Cosmopolitan Industries, the two companies responsible for Saskatoon's recycling, have gotten approval to remove plastic bags from the blue bin program in April.

Loraas, Cosmopolitan Industries say no markets for getting rid of bags

Recycling companies say removing plastic bags is time consuming and makes sorting more difficult. (The Associated Press)

Plastic bags have been banned from Saskatoon recycling bins.

Loraas Recycle and Cosmopolitan Industries, the two companies responsible for city recycling, have gotten city council's approval remove plastic bags from the blue bin program in April. Council voted on the request at its Monday meeting.

"The ability to find suitable recycling markets for certain categories of collected and processed material has gradually become more difficult," read a report.

"Loraas and Cosmo were previously paying to have plastic film recycled but even those market options have diminished."

The report said low oil prices have meant the market for recycling plastics has dropped. As well, China has begun cracking down on importing low-grade plastics, making it difficult to find markets for the bags.

The companies say removing plastic bags from the recycling is time consuming and makes sorting more difficult.

Councillors had the option to vote to keep bags as an acceptable item until the recycling contract expires in late 2019, however administration had recommended against such a decision as it would force companies to stockpile bags, which may eventually need to be sent to the landfill.

Meanwhile, administration is also looking at banning glass and black plastic when the new service contract is in place in 2020.

The decision to remove plastic bags will be accompanied by an awareness campaign telling people about the change.

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