The two-stream recycling solution
Glengarrians will soon be asked to start sorting their recycling now that North Glengarry council has approved a dual-stream model for the RARE recycling facility.
Under the new system, which will come into effect in January of 2019, RARE will accept paper and paper products one week and containers like jars, bottles, tin cans, plastic, glass, and metal, the next.
“It will absolutely help us because the material will come in cleaner,” says Linda Andrushkoff, General Manager of the Recyclage Alexandria Recycling Équipe facility in Alexandria. “Paper products were coming in too dirty before because it was being mixed with all the other material. Now it will be easier to sell.”
The unloading process at RARE will also change. Materials are now tipped in the yard outside the RARE building, where rain and snow can add unwanted moisture to the fibre products. Under the new model, those products will be unloaded inside the building, ensuring that they will be even cleaner.
“I’m very happy about this change,” she says. “We always sold our plastic and metals locally while the paper products went overseas. Now, it will all be purchased domestically.”
In the past, RARE sold its fibre products to China and, occasionally, Korea, Vietnam and India. At the time, China paid more than domestic markets and was never too overstocked to take additional shipments. At its peak, RARE sometimes exported as many as five shipments a week. Also, China’s cleanliness standards were a lot more lax, but that all changed last year when that country stopped accepting imports of low grade post- consumer plastic and paper recycling material. China began insisting on a much more thorough sort, the kind RARE just wasn’t equipped to do. Up until March, RARE sent its excess material to the North Glengarry landfill in Glen Robertson. After that, it started sending materials to another facility in the United States.
Obviously, a change like this cannot come overnight. Ms. Andrushkoff says that the municipalities that send their recycling to RARE – North and South Glengarry, North Stormont, and Russell Township – will have to educate their citizens and work with their contractors to make the necessary amendments.
She says that the new arrangement won’t require any additional trucks but it will necessitate extra training for some municipal employees, adding that there will soon be a big “public outreach” to explain the changes to residents. Part of that outreach will include the purchase and distribution of additional collection bins. Ms. Andrushkoff says they likely won’t be blue – the typical colour of recycling containers – to make it easier to differentiate between fibres and containers.
The new bins are expected to cost about $35,000.
Additionally, the RARE plant itself will get an upgrade. Specifically, its ballistic separator will be replaced with a slider belt, which will make it easier to process fibre products. This upgrade is expected to cost an additional $30,000. A further $10,000 is expected for engineering and related costs.
A RARE staff report estimates the new model will save the plant about two days per week by severely reducing or even eliminating backlogs as the staff will be able to process all incoming material.
Further, Stewardship Ontario reports that, on average throughout Ontario, residue from recycling goes down from 13 per cent to five per cent, when comparing a single stream collection system to dual stream. This will reduce the amount of material going to landfill from RARE.
North Glengarry council unanimously approved the new method at a recent meeting.
Maxville Councillor Carma Williams, who, in the past, questioned proposed changes to RARE, said she was completely on board with the new direction. “The dual stream will remove some of the workload at RARE and put the responsibility of the initial sorting on the homeowner,” she says. “This will allow for a cleaner and higher quality product that we can sell.” She says she’s not concerned that the public will reject its new responsibility.
“I think that people are looking for ways to recycle more effectively,” she says.
SORTING: The RARE recycling plant is introducing a dual collection method.