Listen Live
HomeNewsAquatera gauging public interest on recycling options

Aquatera gauging public interest on recycling options

The future of recycling in Grande Prairie is unclear. With recent changes to the global market, Aquatera could be faced with a decision between charging customers more or taking some recyclables to the landfill.

China all but banned plastic waste imports in January, majorly impacting all of North America. Previously, two-thirds of recycling from the continent was shipped there. Aquatera Communications and Change Manager Chelsea Lewis says that had an immediate impact on their operations.

“Our contamination rates in January went from an acceptable level of 15 per cent to 0.5, basically overnight. We got this message, and then people would have started to hear things about not putting pizza boxes, not putting anything that wasn’t washed out in their recyclables.”

Aquatera has gotten its contamination rate down to roughly two per cent since it banned anything with grease or food particles in April. Residents seem to have responded positively, but the company is concerned it may lose its buyer altogether when its contract with Prairie Disposal expires in 2022.

- Advertisement -

“Other municipalities are already facing these issues where they’re having to make these really tough decisions,” Lewis explains, “so what we’re trying to do is get in front of it and figure out what we can do, what do our customers want us to do.”

Phone surveys started last week to ask customers what they’d like to see happen if there continues to be a limited market for recyclables in the future. One option would be to continue recycling in the same way, but with a monthly bill increase of up to $5. The other would be to start taking some to the landfill, particularly plastics, which would decrease bills.

“[Public opinion] is pretty important to us,” maintains Lewis. “I think that if we’ve seen a huge amount of people say, ‘yes, we want the rates to increase if you continue to do this,’ then we’ll do that.”

The results of the survey will be made public.

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -

Continue Reading