Saskatoon politicians are expected to determine the future of curbside recycling this month, with the possibility that some materials will be banned from carts.
The utility charge for the service seems almost certain to rise, possibly by nearly $2 a month.
A city council committee will kick off the debate Monday when a report on renewing the contract for collection from single-family homes is considered.
The report by the city administration recommends keeping the materials the same as in the current seven-year contract with Loraas, but also includes options to remove glass and some plastics.
“Markets for lower-value plastics have been greatly impacted by the import restrictions of China and have become very difficult to recycle as there are few domestic market opportunities,” the report says.
The administration also recommends continuing a partnership with Sarcan Recycling to accept glass at its depots, since most of the glass in the mixed recycling stream winds up broken and is difficult to recycle.
Council’s environment, utilities and corporate services committee will consider the report on Monday, but council is expected to make the ultimate decision later this month.
The contract with Loraas runs out at the end of the year and a new one needs to be in place by Jan. 1, 2020, although the report also offers council the option of discontinuing the program.
The current program charges households $5.66 per month for year-round pickup every second week. That charge could increase to as high as $7.50 starting in 2020, the report says.
Depending on the options chosen, the charge could be as low as $7 a month. The city is already negotiating with the top proponent for the new contract, the report says.
Under all of the options, black plastics and polycoat containers like beverage cups will no longer be accepted since they cannot be recycled.
Plastic bags and other plastic films were removed from the list of acceptable items to recycle in April 2018 because the global markets evaporated and they contaminated other material.
The report offers the option of removing five of seven types of plastic since they have become difficult to recycle. That would leave plastic beverage containers and receptacles like those for laundry detergent and shampoo as the only acceptable plastics.
However, the removal of these plastics would only reduce costs by about two cents a month, the report says.
By weight, plastics accounted for nearly five per cent of material recycled during the seven years of the contract.
Glass accounted for about four per cent, although about three quarters winds up broken. While broken glass can be difficult to recycle, it can be used as material for road construction.
The city’s partnership with Sarcan, which allows residents to drop off glass, collected 60 tonnes in its first six months this year. To continue this partnership would cost about $30,000 to $40,000 a year.
By weight, paper and cardboard made up 73.3 per cent of the material collected for the last seven years, although 10.1 per cent of material was contaminated.
The curbside recycling program collected 8,500 tonnes of material last year, accounting for 30 per cent of the material diverted from the landfill, the report says.