Are we there yet? On March 28, the city’s Standing Policy Committee voted in favour of a “new” curbside recycling program policy, which is to be voted on by city council on April 16, 2007. This new and improved version will see 300,000 homes (including up to 4-plexes) see weekly pick up of recyclables, including plastics, but excluding food and yard waste. The existing city run recycling depots, totaling nearly 50, located across the city will continue to be operated. This is a great step towards achieving the city’s goal of recycling 80% of the city’s waste material by 2020.
The 2006 city civic census reported a total number of 408,543 residential units. Yet only 300,000 residential units will be served by the new recycling policy, if adopted. More than 25% of the city’s residential units will not have curbside recycling offered to them. It is safe to assume that this number encompasses condominium buildings over 4 units and their residents.
What recycling options are there for condominium dwellers? The city has said the existing recycling depots will remain in place. However, how practical is it for a person who may not have a vehicle to transport their recycling materials to one of these depots, either by foot or on the bus? Other options must be analyzed. Condominium corporations need to look at implementing a recycling program of their own.
As the city has found, there is a monetary cost that accompanies any recycling program. It must be taken into account, however, that an expenditure outlay for a recycling program is accompanied by monetary savings in other areas (not needing to build and maintain another land fill for example). The same is true for condominium buildings. Keep in mind the City of Calgary does not pick up waste from condominiums. This expense is paid for by the owners through their condo fees and can range from a few thousand dollars a year to tens of thousands of dollars for large buildings. By decreasing the amount of “waste” picked up at a decreased cost and allocating those funds for “recyclables” to be picked up would most likely not be any more expensive for the average condo building.
There are already numerous buildings doing exactly this. If yours isn’t, ask the question why. Then put a plan in place to begin. Recycling in condos: Because we can!