Posted on Friday, November 24, 2017 at 2:10 p.m.
Urgent plea for support of local blue box program
Recycle Action Inc. runs a successful blue box program for many communities in Prescott-Russell and helped provide employment for those with limited job skills while providing recycled material supply markets with tonnes of old newspapers, tin cans, glass bottles and other items which would have overloaded local landfills.
Now Groupe Convex, the non-profit social service agency which created Recycle Action Inc., fears that the provincial government’s new Waste Free Ontario Act could result in private sector competition from outside of the region and eliminate all the good work the local blue box program has done.
“For us, maintaining this value-added service is a priority,” said Caroline Arcand, Groupe Convex executive director (see photo), to the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) during its Nov. 22 meeting.
The legislation, if approved, would amend the Blue Box Program Plan which Stewardship Ontario oversees. The change that worries Groupe Convex most concerns the possibility that Stewardship Ontario could give away the contract for post-collection service to an outside private contractor which could undercut Recycle Action in a Request-for-Proposals bid.
Post-collection service includes sorting, processing and separation of recyclables for storage and later sale to recycled material supply companies. Many of the jobs that Groupe Convex clients now enjoy are at the Recycle Action Inc.’s recycling centre in Hawkesbury.
Groupe Convex has sent a letter to Ontario Environment Minister Chris Ballard outlining its concerns and is campaigning for local and regional support for Recycle Action Inc. Arcand noted the non-profit agency is also working on a new business plan “to maintain our program” in anticipation of approval of the Waste Free Ontario Act.
All eight mayors on UCPR council gave unanimous approval to a resolution of support for Groupe Convex, which the agency can present to the minister during a future meeting.
“It is of interest to all municipalities to get this blue box program situation straightened out,” said UCPR Warden Gary Barton. “We are supporting the local organization.”