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Best Practices…That’s a Wrap for Ottawa’s Multi-Res Promotion & Education

Convincing residents in multi-residential (MR) buildings to recycle is a challenge, getting them to recycle right can be even harder, but – as City of Ottawa staff have demonstrated, that doesn’t mean you want to stop trying. The issue In 2015, staff approached CIF with a proposal to try a novel approach to MR P&E. Based on Canada Post’s graffiti-resistant vinyl wraps on mailboxes, the concept was to replace bin stickers with full bin wraps to address three key persistent problems, [...]

Should you be planning for a MRF Performance Audit in 2017?

A MRF study might be the best money you spend all year. But what exactly is a MRF performance audit? In short… it’s a study to determine how well your facility is functioning. It involves a systematic review of material-flow to identify opportunities to lower operating costs, minimize loss, and improve revenue. This is a mass balance exercise. The audit starts with emptying conveyor belts and bunkers, then running a representative sample of inbound recyclables through the system to collect and audit [...]

New Depot Compactor Guide Now Available

Is a compactor right for you? With shipping costs consuming much of a small depot program’s recycling budget, operators need to consider alternative ways to manage these costs. For programs that ship numerous loads or haul recyclables over long distances, compactors can reduce hauling costs by as much as 60-80%. CIF’s new Depot Compactor Guide new Depot Compactor Guide is the first step in finding out whether the compactor shoe will fit you. With CIF funding, several programs across the province have implemented compactor units in their Blue Box [...]

Measure Twice and Cut Once: A Tried and True Philosophy

Source: Northumberland County Project Report #515.11 Ever increasing volumes of containers, such as PET, are imposing greater and greater challenges to manual sorting systems. Light-weighting and the shift towards smaller, single serve containers has increased to the point where manual sortation is becoming overwhelmed. As such, Optical Sorting Technology (OST) is becoming necessary to manage the evolving container stream. Northumberland County, in partnership with the CIF, is the latest municipality to address this problem by upgrading their container line with a [...]

Blue Box and Diversion Costs Now Eligible Under Development Charges

Under recent changes to the Development Charges Act, development-related waste management capital costs for Blue Box and other diversion programs may now be eligible to be included in the calculations for determining municipal development charges (DCs). Landfill sites and services, and incineration of waste and services remain ineligible. In general, when a new home or commercial development is constructed, the municipality recovers a predetermined amount from the developer as a DC to fund future development-related capital costs. A development-related capital [...]

Understanding How Program Costs and Recovery Have Changed Over Time

What does the data really show when it comes to Ontario’s Blue Box Recycling program*? October 6, 2016 Dr. Calvin Lakhan, York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies,, 416-736-2100 ext: 22612 In Ontario, the recovery of total recyclable material (per annum) of Blue Box materials has increased from 779,884 tonnes to 884,504 tonnes between the periods of 2002 and 2014. The costs of managing this system have increased by 91% during this same period. Both packaging producers and municipalities have expressed extreme [...]

Tender Time

Many programs are coming out of a long term contract cycle and may not have had to draft an RFP or tender for years or even a decade. Staff and Council may have turned over and many municipal folks have never been involved in the waste management procurement process before. If this sounds like you, take a look below at the timeline of an RFP, completed with the help of CIF staff, that was designed to help a City switch [...]

Accurate Stop Counts Lead to Better Customer Service & Contract Management

Managers of municipal curbside collection programs often have a hard time gathering accurate information about collection routes and services provided at various locations. This issue is even more difficult in areas with seasonal populations and leads to challenges reporting out in the WDO datacall. In many cases, the use of GPS locators on collection fleets has been specified in collection contracts to facilitate contract management. Mid contract, this option is not always possible and municipal staff rely on manual maps [...]

Activity Based Costing Pays Off

City of Timmins Transfer Station Source: City of Timmins Timmins has the largest municipal Blue Box program in the Northeastern Ontario waste shed area. The city offers automated cart-based collection plus depot services to a population of 43,165 in 18,806 households, resulting in about 3,000 tonnes/year of Blue Box materials marketed. Throughout 2015, Timmins struggled with residue management issues. Unacceptable materials in the blue box material stream had reached as high as 48% by weight and resulted in a $10/tonne increase [...]

What’s in your MRF Material

You have heard it before: Blue Box program operators need to know exactly what is in their Material Recycling Facility (MRF) materials, including what type and how much of each material is going into and out of the facility where recyclables are processed. Without this information, it isn’t possible to know if you are losing revenue to residue or cross contamination; if you are getting all the diversion you pay for and/or if you are being charged too much for [...]