Friday, January 14, 2011

One for the credit column

I am pleasantly surprised at Council's action to solicit costs from the private sector regarding a recycling program (SP Jan. 14/11.) If I am reading the article correctly they are trying to determine what type of program can be offered at $5.30 per household monthly with the proviso that 7,800 tonnes of paper will go to Cosmo annually over a 10 year period.

What I don't understand is why they would cover this cost out of surplus funds for the first two years and then move to a user pay or property tax implementation starting in 2014. My best guess is that it will get them by the next civic election and that costs will increase over the term of the contract.

It is also unclear as to whether or not 7,800 tonnes of paper will be sufficient to maintain Cosmo.

Nonetheless I believe they will get a realistic cost by following the course of action taken. For that I offer a tip of the hat.


  1. Mistress here is what I think about this whole recycling crap and I use that word kindly.
    Take it from my friend George Carlin

    So I favor a user pay system for all garbage and recycling. And by that I mean get all the costs off my property taxes. Eliminate the civic bureaucracy that exists in the waste management system and go totally user pay. Let me decide if I use the service or find another way to deal with all the garbage I create. And i truly mean that "I create" If a company sells me a product that must be thrown into the garbage they should pay those costs at manufacturing. If I can recycle the packaging set a deposit on the packaging so if I decide to recycle I get my money back and the world oops us people get to say we did something nice for ourselves.

    Now back to shoveling all that snow the city says is my job and I don't get a cent for.

  2. This is actually a refreshing breakthrough. My biggest concern with all the recycling talk with Saskatoon is that those supporting the mandatory curbside are so hellbent on getting a mandatory curbside program they have failed to give any sort of an idea of how it will run. There is no details on whether it will all in one or multiple bins, whether Cosmo is in or out, the actual costs, what will be done with the products, etc... The only concern seems to be let's get a system so we aren't the only major city in Canada not to have one.

    The absolute last thing that I want to do is to hand Atch and his merry Council a clear slate to put in any program they desire. They have shown ZERO budgetary abilities in ANY project they have tackled, and pretty much anything the 'great' city workers are asked to do is done poorly and inefficiently. So let's just say that handing them the keys to designing a recycling program is not the smartest idea. Before I'll support anything I want to see a concrete plan. This at least gives some hope, let a private firm handle administration for a fee.

    One thing that I didn't see mentioned in the paper was the city asking about the end location of the recycled products. China and other 3rd world countries has becoming a haven for recycling companies to dump recyclables into, especially electronics ( Again our recycling supporters here have focused on costs associated with Saskatoon, while failing to mention anything regarding exterior social costs.

    Hopefully the company brings back some answers.

  3. agreed with the last comment and the Mistress. I'm glad to finally (hopefully, as Council still needs to vote on it) have some real cost put to a curbside program.

    Personally, I think the city would be best served with the private sector handling the processing, while the collection could be done by either the city or private sector.

    I don't want to see the taxpayer being on the hook for building and maintaining a recycling processing facility, especially when one already exists here in Saskatoon.

    Monday night will be interesting and hopefully be the first step to closing this long running recycling debate.


  5. Anon 2:00....are you one of those people who also denies the cost of landfills?

    Or do have an extra $100 million kicking around to build a new one when ours is full in a couple years?

  6. This is Anon 2:00pm

    Oh I have no qualms about the costs of the landfill. I know it will cost money. But is it less, is it more, is it forever a drain on my pocket book

    Here is the my beef. If the city indicated the new "recycling" system would indeed not cost a penny more than what I am already paying I would be in, but they continue to indicate increased costs. Shipping the product somewhere else to sit around isn't called recycling it is called storage.

    Needing a new landfill I can live with that it will be on the West side somewhere and I live on the Beautiful East side of the city. At least the landfill costs can be effectively estimated. Unlike this recycling mess. I've heard $5-$30/month estimates. Nothing like setting us up for a huge tax increase

  7. So Anon 2:00, you make it sounds like the the cost of a new landfill is know and will be completely predictable.....which it won't.

    Who would want a landfill near them? Not many people and land prices keep going up in this city, so before anyone says recyling won't save the city money, we should know the costs (and timeline for when it will be needed) of a new landfill with and without curbside recycling. It ridiculous to not look at which option is the cheapest.

    As for the landfill being located on the west side of the city.....don't be so sure of that. There is definitely no guaruntee it will be.

  8. Tim said...
    "Anon 2:00....are you one of those people who also denies the cost of landfills?"

    Are you one of those people who buys something without reasonably understanding the benefit?

    The city has never mentioned conclusively how much a new landfill would cost or how much space the existing landfill has left.

    Furthermore, there has been no mention whatsoever of a benefits-cost analysis of a new recycling program.

    The reason for that, I suspect, is because the benefits-cost analysis isn't showing numbers that are favourable for those who wish to subject the city to mandatory curbside recycling.

    No serious commercial organization in the world would ever undertake a multi-million project without some empirical understanding of the project's benefits as they relate to the costs. Why doesn't the city do this? Do the laws of economics somehow cease to exist at the steps of city hall?


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