Curbside recycling program gets set to roll

Lacombe City council voted unanimously in favour this week of awarding the new residential blue box recycling program contract to CanPak

  • Feb. 13, 2014 8:00 a.m.

Lacombe City council voted unanimously in favour this week of awarding the new residential blue box recycling program contract to CanPak for a term of five years.

During its four month public engagement campaign in the summer of 2013, the City found overwhelming support for the implementation of a curbside pickup recycling program and decided to implement such a program to begin on April 15.

Administration began its request for proposal (RFP) process on Jan. 8 and has now decided that CanPak will give the City the most value for its dollar, officials said.

While CanPak’s collection cost at $3.85 per month is higher than some of its competitors, it also offers no charge for additional blue boxes per month and has no processing fee, said Director of Infrastructure Matthew Goudy, therefore offering the best price overall.

“That’s the key to this whole price comparison. They are going to handle as much material as we can give them with no processing fee.”

A local contractor, Recycling-4-You, also responded to the City’s RFP, but was eliminated as the contractor was unable to begin collection on the April 15 start date set by council. Administration also stated that Recycling-4-You was the highest of the four submissions received.

Council seemed generally in favour of administration’s recommendation to award the contract to CanPak without much debate, but a few councillors voice minor concerns.

Councillor Grant Harder was displeased that the information provided to council did not include reviews of CanPak from other nearby municipalities and asked if any such conversations between municipalities took place.

Chris Huston, utilities manager for the City of Lacombe, said administration did speak to Blackfalds about whether they were satisfied with the work of CanPak and they heard nothing but positive reviews from them.

Councillor Reuben Konnik had questions about how residents were able to obtain additional bins as they are allowed to put out more than one. Goudy said the City will be distributing one bin per household and will have additional bins available for purchase.

He also said should bins need to be replaced, they will have to be purchased from the City.

Konnik also had concerns about the lack of ability to recycle plastic bags. Huston said that CanPak does not accept plastic bags for recycling as they cost more to recycle than to produce and that bins with plastic bags in them will likely not be collected.

However, Konnik said residents are likely to put plastic bags in bins anyway and he foresees this as a potential obstacle to the program’s success. Huston said the City hopes to combat that problem through a public engagement campaign and visits to any households that consistently put out unacceptable materials for collection.

Lacombe’s five-year contract with CanPak is at a cost of $175,560. Goudy said that this is well within the City’s $294,188 budget for blue box recycling.

Goudy added he does not know why, but the amounts in the proposals received in the 2014 RFP for blue box recycling were lower than those received in the 2013 RFP (whose amounts were used for budgeting).

Because of the difference between cost and budgeting, a budget adjustment will be made, said Goudy, but at this time he does not know how the excess budgeted money will be used.