Those loading up their recyclables and taking them to the bins in Drumheller may have noticed, there is no place for soft plastics.
The soft plastic recycle bins have been relabeled for Christmas Wrap. This leaves residents with no choice, for the time being, but to pitch their plastic bags and wrap in the garbage to be landfilled.
Truth be known, that is what the Drumheller landfill has been doing. Tammi Nygaard of Drumheller and District Solid Waste says the markets for plastic recyclables are volatile, and there is no market for soft plastics.
“We weren’t recycling what we were getting anyway, so we changed that out for the Christmas Wrap because of the season and then we were going to wait and see if there is going to be any improvements in the markets,” said Nygaard.
She says right now the market for paper, tin and #2 plastic (hard plastic) is okay. However, since the collapse of oil prices the market for recyclable plastic has been declining. This, coupled with China’s ban on importing wastes, has caused the market to decline further.
“Right now what has happened is China has closed their doors,” said Nygaard.
She explains that it is possible to find markets for much of the product if it is clean, it is the film that there is no market for. Currently, it costs the Solid Waste Association money to recycle, and it is cheaper to landfill the plastic.
Nygaard said the board of the Drumheller and District Solid Wastes Association has to be brought up to speed on plastic markets and whether to continue to collect soft plastic, even if it is not being recycled.
“There is nothing in the budget right now to pay to have plastic recycled. I have had a lot of calls. So many municipalities are either not collecting it any longer or are stockpiling it, but you can only stockpile it for so long because it starts to deteriorate, and then you won’t even be able to get someone to pay to recycle it,” she said.
Nygaard recognizes that the Town of Drumheller is exploring curbside recycling, and it is going to have an effect on the Drumheller and District Solid Wastes Association.
“Our board has to talk, the new council is really wanting more recycling, if that is the case, I have to start doing some research on markets. I could probably find someone to take it but they are going to charge to take it. We are looking at composts, plastic, and glass,” she said. “The board is going to have to have that discussion because it is going to cost us.”