August 21st, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 190821
Recycling Depot in need of more space
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
stock photo
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
The lack of space for Crowsnest Pass’s recycling depot was brought to council’s attention at their meeting on August 13th.

Owner of Pass Beverages, Brent Kenney, says since China has stopped purchasing cardboard and other recyclables, areas in North America is beginning to have trouble selling their recycling.

“The biggest problem we have is that China has quit buying recycled material from NA. That means 90% of the recycled material in NA was going to China or Pakistan and they've stopped. Right now in North America no one is accepting cardboard, newsprint or any recycled material. You can't sell it or give it away anywhere right now.”

Kenney said during the meeting that he notified the municipality just over a month ago that he was running out of storage space and was hoping to receive some space from the municipality in order to allow people to continue recycling.

“I'm sitting on about 280 bales of cardboard and 50 tonnes of newsprint, plastic, tin and all the products that have been taken through the recycling. The problem I have now is that I've run out of space.”

Kenney could potentially run into problems with selling the cardboard if China doesn’t reopen the market as well.

“Cardboard can be stored outside and it is being stored outside. The cardboard will sit for four to five years before no one will take it. Right now we've been sitting on it for about a year. We're still ok and companies will buy it if the market rebound back. If this continues for 3,4 or 5 years, what will we do with all this cardboard that won't be any good.”
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Kenney stressed the fact it isn’t just a local problem.

“There are millions of tonnes of cardboard sitting around NA in yard like mine. Pincher Creek is having the same problem and Lethbridge is having the same problem. I was in Lethbridge 2 weeks ago and I went to a recycling facility there and they used to only take up about an acre of land now they have almost 10 acres of cardboard plastic and all their recycling material in their yards. There is just no market for anything.”

Kenney added that currently, most of it goes to the Portland, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington area and that some of those locations are sitting on one million bales of cardboard right now.

Kenney says the municipality needs to help him before this turns into a bigger crisis.

“I need guidance as to where our municipality wants to go with this. It's going to get more and more expensive as we go because now we'll have to haul the cardboard down to whatever yard or storage space you can provide. It's something the municipality has to think about and I really think the municipality has to approach the minister of environment of Alberta and get them on board and get something going as to what's going to happen in the future because we're all going to have to shut down if something doesn't change. It's not just me it's a pretty big situation we're in.”

Kenney also says the public have done an excellent job of recycling but that they don’t necessarily realize there is a problem with the market currently.

“The public isn't aware of it. They are all doing an awesome job recycling. I have a crew of two people who work seven days a week. We fill our bins; they are emptied three times a day. It's not a problem getting recycling material, it's that there's no end use for the products right now.”

After hearing Kenney speak on the topic, council began to deliberate and discuss their options.

“Not only do I think we need to provide the space, I also think we as a municipality should be lobbying our own MLA's and MP's because this is very close to a crisis situation for a number of people who use that facility. I have absolutely no problem at all giving them the space to store until we have this situation under control,” said Councillor Sygutek.
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Councillor Filipuzzi was on the same page as Councillor Sygutek.

“I have to agree with Councillor Sygutek's comments. Councillor Ward and me are on the landfill board and the landfill has the same problem too. It's an issue that's spread throughout our province. We have to lobby and have to do something with this. I would support giving them some space for now to see what we can do in the future.”

Councillor Ward says he’s in agreement with that but also has some concerns.

“Honestly I agree with all that but I think we're going to have to take a different approach with this in the next few months because everyone is stockpiling. I know that for a fact. When or if China opens up again, all that inventory is just going to get flooded into the market and you're going to be right back to square one. I'd like to see us bring this back in three months and we may be in a position where we have to stop recycling. It's not going to be just us; it's going to be everybody.”

Councillor Sygutek then made her first motion on the topic.

“I make a motion that we enter into an agreement with Pass Beverages to provide a small portion of property at 15018 12 Avenue to assist with their recycling storage capacity and that this topic comes back to council in three months for discussion.”

That motion was carried.

Kenney then said they have brought in 260 bales of cardboard since January 24th.

Kenney says that shows how quickly things can pile up and stressed the importance of making people aware.

“We need to lobby every government group we can and the Canadian government has to get involved.”

Councillor Sygutek was in agreement and created a second motion that council provides a letter to MP John Barlow and MLA Roger Reid regarding the crisis situation for recycling in the Crowsnest Pass.

That motion was also carried.

Kenney finished of the conversation on this topic by speaking a little bit to where his plastic recyclables are currently going.

“Right now the only way I'm moving my plastic is through a local company in Cardston. They will buy it from me and they are turning it into parking blocks and barricades for highways.”

Kenney says that it’s important for municipalities and cities to purchase these materials from local companies so that they can stay open and continue to recycle products.

“If our municipality is going to buy any parking blocks it should support this company. They are pretty nice blocks. This company has only got a market for so many blocks before they can't produce anymore. The more the province supports them the more plastic they use and the more we recycle. We have to start supporting companies that use the recycled material. Sometimes it's cheaper, sometimes it's a little more but if it doesn't get done then we will have no recycling.”

Council will continue to monitor the situation in the coming months.
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August 21st, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 190821
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