Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Its all about symbols

It frightens me whenever I agree with Pat Lorje, but in the instance of a wind turbine at the landfill (SP July 13/11) I do. I can't recall - did she oppose this when it was first presented? I don't think wind turbines should be located in proximity to residential areas.

Her comment "To simply put something on the horizon because it's s symbol of green energy seems to me to be a folly." But what about the folly of single stream recycling?

There seems to be a lot of symbolism going on right now. The tax review symbolizes a financially prudent council. The recycling program symbolizes an environmentally conscious council. The wind turbine symbolizes the green energy concerns of council. Get the drift?

Yes folks, and caring about constituients is symbolic of an election approaching faster than we think.


  1. explain the folly of single-stream recycling...

  2. it's clearly not the most effective system, nor is it even a very good system.

    granted it is better than what we have, but it is still a rather ineffective system. in 10 years the masses will catch on and wonder why we even set one up in the first place.

  3. single stream increases diversion by 20-45% over dual-stream. so what is more effective then single-stream then?

  4. Lorje did not oppose the turbine when it was going at Diefenbaker Hill. She actually supported it. Now she is opposed when it is outside her back door!

  5. Single stream recycling contaminates much of the paper and reduces the quality of the recycled paper and thus is its less valuable. Users of recycled paper are reverting to virgin product as a result of the lower quality.

  6. say's Cosmo, but in reality, single-stream processors have no problem making their systems economically viable. Given that paper is the main driver of that viability, whatever contamination that does occur is not causing any major problems.

  7. Recycling is about re-using a product. If single stream contaminates much of the paper and reduces its quality, the purchasers of recycled paper revert back to virgin product. Rather than pointing fingers back at Cosmo, read Solid Waste & Management magazine, a Canadian publication that deals with recycling. Most interesting is an article entitled Newsprint on the Orient Express that deals with the emerging problems and economics of single stream collection.

  8. Article Mistress was referring to:

    It will be interesting to hear what recycling guru Sean Shaw says about this.....

    Once again those pushing the agenda don't like people to be exposed to all the facts, just the ones supporting their cause.

  9. Even the "sustainability mandate" of the Globe and Mail states that it "encourage their suppliers to supply high-quality post-consumer recovered fibre." (See Globe and Mail, October 2, 2010.) The newspaper supports improvements to recycling systems nationwide, adding that "about 35 percent of all paper products that enter a single-stream recycling program ends-up in landfill largely due to contamination.

    But as long as the recycling drones can sleep at night thinking they are saving the world it is worth setting up a shitty recycling system.

  10. Our society is amazing at collecting and disposing garbage in an economical manner. If you don't believe me, believe environmental activist Rod Muir. His beef is that it costs so little to handle garbage that many people don't want to spend more to divert the material from the landfills.

    Since garbage is so inexpensive, the least expensive thing you can do with post-consumer materials for recycling is to treat it like garbage. That's the secret of single stream. The collection is done exactly like garbage collection.

    If you notice, Saskatoon's RFP gives 10 points for convenience (read co-mingled) but only 3 points for the end-use marketing of the product.

    If you bid with a dual stream system which used the final product locally, you get fewer points than using a co-mingled collection system and sending the contaminated materials to China. How in the world does that make sense?

    The RFP will fail on price and administration will ask council for permission to enter into negotiations with their prefered bidder.

    Administration will get the recycling company they want and that's not Cosmo.

  11. Help us all if I'm the guru of anything!

    At the end of the day my agenda is that Saskatoon needs the most cost-efficient, highest diversion, and lowest back-end waste system possible - whether that is single or dual stream.

    Unfortunately, the debate waters have been muddied by the constant bombardment of mis-leading and downright false information being thrown around by a certain segment of the debate with a vested interest in the status-quo.

    The fact is that there is very little current, fact/scientific based, data to back-up the claim that single-stream recycling is worse then dual-stream.

    Take the article linked by anon 153pm - it’s based on hearsay, old data, and specific case-studies. Infact, there has never been a thorough, peer-reviewed, assessment that compares dual and single stream systems.

    Ultimately, the efficiency of a single-stream or a dual-stream system comes down to the quality of equipment and attention paid by the processor. Technology has evolved by leaps and bounds over the past decade. Unfortunately, other municipalities generally have older equipment and they constantly nickel and dime their facilities to death, which decreases their efficiency. (which is why I don't believe Saskatoon should build and/or run its own facility)

    So, why do I think single-stream is the best way to go for Saskatoon?

    Collection is more cost effective - one bin, picked up every two weeks. Dual stream would require two bins as well as two separate pick-ups, or trucks that are compartmentalized - which increases costs significantly.

    Ease of Use - There is more buy in for single stream, 20-45% more diversion in cities that switch from dual to single stream. It's easier and less hassle for people. I'm a committed recycler and find dual stream to be a hassle at times.

    Finally, the reality in Saskatoon is that there is only one company who has the ability to process all of Saskatoon's recyclables - Loraas. Loraas is currently commissioning a single-stream facility. Cosmo and Saskatoon Curbside do not have the capacity or ability to process the amount of recyclables involved in this RFP. For those who think we should have dual-stream, are you prepared to pony up for the cost of building such a facility?

  12. Sean - Are you suggesting that an out-of-province or out-of-country company may not be interested in bidding or that we wouldn't entertain any out-of-city offers? What's the point to a RDP or tender if we are dealing with a monolopy? How can you ever control the price or disposal of collected product? What if Loraas gets the contract, removes only what he wants and then dumps the rest in his landfill near the city? Are we then happy recyclers because its not in the city's landfill?

    Ever since I read that Loraas has invested hundres of millions of dollars in expanding his single stream depot, I have been concerned that a fair process in not in the offing, that this deal is done and we will not be getting a program for the $4.50-5.50 price indicated by Council.

  13. From what I have heard there is one outside company interested in bidding; however, they would still look to use Loraas as the processor. The cost of exporting all of the collected recyclables out of province would be economically inefficient.

    What I am suggesting is that the City could put (and has to a good extent) conditions and performance clauses in any contract that ensure the winning company is actually recycling what they process. To answer your question directly, I would not be a happy recycler just because it is not going into our landfill.

    What needs to be recognized is that landfill space is becoming increasingly hard to come by. The fact that Loraas even has their own landfill is pretty remarkable.

    It would not make economic sense for Loraas (or any other company or the city) to dump the recyclables into the landfill. The simple reason being it is cheaper to process the recycables then to have them taking up valuable space in their landfill (or the city's landfill).

    Finally, The $4.24 indicated by city Admin is unrealistic and I still have not figured out where that number came from. The cost lies between $5 and $7, something the City was told by their own outside consultants (that is the cost without the cost savings factored in). As a comparison, the collection/processing of our garbage currently sits between $7.30 and $9.50.

    I appreciate the questions Mistress and hope I've answered them sufficiently.

  14. Thanks for your reply Sean. Will we still be paying $7.30 to $9.50 for collecting and processing our garbage? Council has kicked around the idea of charging for garbage either by the bag or by weight. I fear that we will still pay these fees through our taxes, add on recycling fees and then a separate garbage pick up fee.

  15. Pay for use garbage will come, it's implementation is outlined in the 2007 Waste and Recycling report. However, an organics program of some form is needed first to allow residents the ability to remove that portion from their waste.

    I would hope that the Council of the day would remove the current garbage cost from property taxes if/when we move to pay for use.

  16. Is there a fake Mistress account now?

    If so, someone really needs to get a life. Look at the difference in name and no picture comes up.

    My my, what level will the NDP stoop to next.

  17. I am sorry I hadn't been able to get involved in this debate on the day it was hot, although I'm sure recycling program will be a hot issue for years.

    So Shawn I feel you truly believe it is recycle at any cost as long as someone calls it recycling? Just because it is labeled "green" doesn't mean it is better.

    So if it is cheaper to recycle why will I be charged more?? Shouldn't the recycling costs come out of what I am already paying for garbage collection in my taxes.

    This hole process stinks in more ways than one.

    As for the RFP the city is the one that is changing the rules all the time. I believe a signed contract (with cosmos) should trump the current RFP.

    As to wanting hard facts, I don't see the city bringing any to the table. And how can you trust them when they bring a $4 price tag that even they know will be closer to $8-10. I heard Cosmos has letters from their clients (those they sell the product too) that indicate if the dual stream system is what Saskatoon goes to they will stop buying the paper or in their opinion "GARBAGE". Which means CHINA here we come.

    Now the city is talking about garbage pick up once every two weeks all year round. I won't be keeping my dog's do-do around that long in the summer sorry. I think my Councillor's garbage bin will be more suitable. I don't care how far the contain is from my front door even after 7 days it reeks.

    As an example of City administration's blindness to recycle at all costs is the fact they had to admit that glass collection increases the costs and is only a small 1% of the garbage stream, yet for years they were arguing to keep it in.

    As to the concept that "the dump" is full, it is interesting with one small adjustment.... PILE IT HIGHER, we went from a 12year life span to 40+ years.

    I have lost all confidence in the City's administration to provide any expertise on any issue these days. Roads, planning, transit, water, waste management, River landing. How can anyone trust them to look out for our interests.

    I fear we will be facing double digit property taxes all because instead of providing basic civic services we have let the "social" do-gooders take over our civic policies.

  18. It will be interesting to see how an out-of-province company would make use of Loraas as a processor when unified bids must be made in the RFP. Loraas will bid on collection and processing. How in the world will company X (out of province) bid on collection and processing (with Loraas as the procesing part of their bid) when Loraas is bidding on the whole thing as a competitor to company X?

    This whole process gets Loraas a city contract that they couldn't get as long a Cosmo was in the way.

  19. Oh it is not even a question anymore, anyone in the know knows that Loraas is going to be getting the recycling contract. It has been decided and it is why Loraas is now ramping up in preparations.

    The RFP is designed to fail which will allow the City to choose their 'preferred' bid and negotiate a deal with that company. That company will be Loraas regardless of what other bids are submitted (I have a friend in the industry who after consulting was basically told it is not worth the expense to prepare a bid as this is as done a deal as there is).

    The only reason the RFP is going out is to satisfy the requirements. There is a reason they designed it to fail.

    Cosmo has unfortunately been the pawn in the game and been run over by Loraas and those pushing the recycling program. The one company that has been recycling for years is now being dumped on the curb because the new company needs their supply to turn a profit.

    No one is taking issue with the reasoning. The only reason Cosmo is being eliminated is because Loraas (and other experts) say that they need the paper to turn a profit. So Cosmo is dumped so a company can come bid on a contract and make even more money.

    Worst yet, even the experts can't give a straight answer on anything to do with the program. As I have feared all along, we are signing up for a bad program just so we can say we have one, and we are throwing our friends at Cosmo onto the street just so that the company negotiating with the City can make a better profit by stealing Cosmo's work.

  20. Conspiracy theories are nice, but its rare they ever hold an ounce of truth Anon 914am.

  21. I would be willing to bet my house that when the dust settles Loraas has the citywide recycling contract.

  22. I'll bet my house, the mistress' house and Sean S's house that we are paying more than the RFP's $4.24 in 2012 for curbside.

    There is an independent report comparing the real economics of single-stream vs dual-stream. It's found here:

    It shows dual stream as the best option. As far as I know it's not peer reviewed, but then the vast majority of reports and studies on which governments base their decisions are not peer reviewed. The study is authoritative from a credible organization with no axe to grind.

    I was told that it was only a few months old when it was shared with city admin. It was ignored.

  23. It was ignored because Loraas prefers the single stream method, and considering this program has essentially been co-designed by Loraas we shouldn't be surprised.

  24. your completely out to lunch anon 1230pm

  25. "your completely out to lunch anon 1230pm"

    I think you mean 'you're' instead of your.

    In any event, you're ignorant Anon 12:40

  26. pick up the phone anon 1240 and 1254. It's amazing what you can learn by actually asking questions instead of making up wild theories!

  27. You can learn a lot but not from city adminstration staff since how they got the $4.24 cost for both collection and procesing. There's no transcript of the consultations and no objective evidence that a majority of residents want curbside recycling.

    We had a consultation and no follow-up. Administration had one acceptable result going in and that's the recommendation they made. What a shocking development.

  28. Pat is able to look after where she lives quite well. Of course she doesn't want a wind turbine in her area. When it was proposed for Diefenbaker Hill, she was quite on board. I heard that she nows wants to cover the garbage dump with clay to capture gases. Is this true??? As for the recycling programme that was proposed, how about we just recycle City Council and get it over with. City Council just wants what it wants and isn't concerned about the people of Saskatoon and what they want or need.I am tired of their Empire Building (new police station, city compound, art centre) when our infrasture is crumbling. My block was without water for over 15 hours and we weren't given a water tank because the city has only 4 and they were all being used. I am tired of their attitude when I call about a problem regarding water main breakages, front street garbage pickup in areas that can't support it because of yard size, etc. or being told that I am upset about an issue because I don't agree with her. DUH!! I am just TIRED!!! Donna King George


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