Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express Editor

COLUMN: Cancelling Lacombe curbside recycling a necessary choice with bad optics

City must act quickly to find environmentally viable, long-term waste solution

The City of Lacombe is not to blame for the breakdown of the global recycling economy, but it will be on them to ensure there is an environmentally progressive solution in the future.

The City recently announced they will not go forward with a contract for curbside recycling pickup with E360 Solutions out of the Red Deer. The choice stemmed from a steep 66 per cent increase in cost that would have obliterated Council’s intentions to keep any City tax increases to the consumer price index (CPI) rate.

The choice is obviously difficult to understand for environmentally-inclined folk, but the logic for the City is clear. In essence, they would be paying for more for a service that is offering far less — with many common recyclable materials no longer being accepted in several Asian countries where recyclable materials are currently being sent

It was an easy choice not to renew, but on ongoing global climate crisis means that the City will need to react quickly to find new ways to handle waste management in Lacombe.

To their credit, the City – and specifically Mayor Grant Creasey — has been researching long-term alternatives including a Nova Scotia waste-to-energy company called Sustane Technologies’ which claims to be able to divert 90 per cent of municipal waste from landfills; and also Fodog Energy, who are currently working with the Town of Sylvan Lake.

These types of waste solutions are certainly ideal, but require upfront and ongoing costs as well as considerable municipal collaboration in order to create a long-term viable program.

This research shows that the City is being anything but negligent in terms of searching for solutions, but the optics of cancelling a curbside recycling service to the casual observer will continue to be a hard sell for the City.

This is why it is important that administration and council act fast to find a solution that is palatable both to their ratepayers wallets and their environmental sensibilities — obviously easier said than done.

Mayor Grant Creasey recently told reporters that the upcoming City solid waste review will not help solve the challenges facing the City in terms of waste managements, but it would give them the necessary information it takes to make good choices.

Hopefully that information will lead to a long-lasting, carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly and progressive waste management solution that is not only beneficial to the people of Lacombe – but potentially to several of the surrounding municipalities.

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