The county-wide school recycling program will continue after a motion made by Collingwood’s mayor received unanimous support from those around the county table.
The issue came up at yesterday’s (June 11) county council meeting via a staff report stating the collection vehicle used for the program had reached the end of its useful life and, if the program were to continue, would need to be replaced at a cost of $330,000.
Mayor Brian Saunderson said he recommended the program be renewed in full without any service reduction and received unanimous support in favour of continuing the program.
The Living and Learning Green program is a partnership between the county and the school boards to run the same level of recycling and organics collection available to residential homes in the county at all local schools. It uses a front-end collection vehicle to enable pickup of commercial-type waste bins containing recyclables and organics from the schools.
The program has been in place since 2010, and, according to Saunderson, it was established as a way of engaging youth in a school waste diversion program as a means of educating them in the hopes they would bring those behaviours back to their families.
In 2010, the program collected 73.8 tonnes of organic waste from Simcoe County schools and 451.81 tonnes of recycling. Last year, the program collected 110 tonnes of organics and 580 tonnes of recycling.
“Simcoe County is a leading region in Ontario and Canada for waste diversion with an annual rate of between 60 to 65 per cent, and I believe that the success of this program is one of the key reasons for the County’s impressive waste diversion record,” said Saunderson in an email to CollingwoodToday.
The operating costs of the program are shared between the school board and the county. In 2018, the county paid $156,960 toward the operating expenses of the program and the school board contributed $110,778.
Capital costs - a new truck, for example - are the sole responsibility of the county.
The truck is required because the county’s curbside collection is currently contracted to Waste Connections of Canada, and its vehicles are designed for curbside collection of residential materials rather than commercial bins.