Urgent plea for support of local blue box program
Recycle Action Inc. runs a successful blue box program for many communities in Prescott-Russell and helps provide employment for those with limited job skills while providing recycled material supply markets with tons of old newspapers, tin cans, glass bottles and other items, which would overload local landfills.
Now Groupe Convex, the non-profit social service agency, which created Recycle Action Inc., fears that the provincial government’s new Waste Free Ontario Act could result in private sector competition from outside of the region and eliminate all the good work the local blue box program has done.
“For us, maintaining this value-added service is a priority,” said Caroline Arcand, Groupe Convex executive director, to the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) during its Nov. 22 meeting.
The legislation, if approved, would amend the Blue Box Program Plan which Stewardship Ontario oversees. The change that worries Groupe Convex most concerns the possibility that Stewardship Ontario could give away the contract for post-collection service to an outside private contractor, which could undercut Recycle Action in a Request-for-Proposals bid.
Post-collection service includes sorting, processing and separation of recyclables for storage and later sale to recycled material supply companies. Many of the jobs that Groupe Convex clients now enjoy are at the Recycle Action Inc.’s recycling centre in Hawkesbury.
Since Recycle Action Inc. began, the recycling arm of Groupe Convex has expanded its recycling operations to include other materials like corrugated cardboard and Styrofoam, and also set up an electronic waste recovery program to collect used and defunct electronics like old computer monitors, TV sets, radios, digital cameras and similar items, disassemble them to salvage components for sale to dealers in useable recycled electronics parts or who salvage certain high-value metal or crystal components from used electronic parts.
The Hawkesbury-based business has also launched a program for collecting and Caroline Arcand, directrice générale du Groupe Action, demande au conseil des Comtés unis de Prescott et Russell de soutenir ses efforts en vue d’apporter des changements à la Loi sur l’Ontario sans déchets, qui protégera les programmes de boîtes bleues et de recyclage mis en place par des groupes sans but lucratif. recycling the type of industrial-grade plastic used for wrapping hay bales on area farms. The farm plastic program is now in its third year and has diverted more than 100 tons of farm plastic, so far, from area landfills in Prescott-Russell.
Arcand noted that Recycle Action represents both economic and social benefits to the Prescott-Russell area. It provides jobs for Groupe Action clients who need work experience to help improve their job skills, part-time and summer employment for local students, and it also provides many Groupe Action clients with an opportunity to get outside and become more involved as part of the community.
Groupe Convex has sent a letter to Ontario Environment Minister Chris Ballard outlining its concerns, and is campaigning for local and regional support for Recycle Action Inc. Arcand noted the non-profit agency is also working on a new business plan “to maintain our program” in anticipation of approval of the Waste Free Ontario Act.
All eight mayors on UCPR council gave unanimous approval to a resolution of support for Groupe Convex, which the agency can present to the minister during a future meeting.
“It is of interest to all municipalities to get this blue box program situation straightened out,” said UCPR Warden Gary Barton. “We are supporting the local organization.”