CIF Connections Blog

Performance impacts: Changing to two stream collection

CIF’s February 1 blog revealed how the Township of Drummond/North Elmsley (DNE) addressed international fiber market issues by transitioning its Blue Box program from weekly single stream to two stream, alternating week collection. This week’s blog answers your follow up questions about: How has this change affected participation? What is the impact of going to two-stream on cross contamination? Were capture and diversion affected? DNE staff are working through steps in their CIF project’s measuring and monitoring plan and, just this week, received the [...]

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Commitments for Government Procurement Under International Trade Agreements: Find out More!

When CIF staff receive questions that are new to us, we're happy to investigate, and where necessary, obtain expert advice. This week's blog was prepared by Paula Lombardi, LLB of the law firm, Siskinds LLP, to address procurement obligations that may affect Ontario recycling programs. Responding to an enquiry about what are some of the outside influences that Blue Box programs need to be aware of when making procurement decisions, Ms Lombardi prepared the following response. Canada is a party to [...]

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A Multi-Municipal Initiative: RFP and P&E Development

The Renfrew County Multi-Municipality Waste Group (“Group”) through CIF project 956 obtained technical RFP support, and financial assistance to develop promotion and education (P&E) materials. The Group aimed to develop a joint waste management procurement document between to standardize recycling and waste management contracts and improve access to recycling program for multi-residential buildings. The Group is made up of Town of Arnprior, Town of Renfrew, Township of Horton, and Township of McNab/Braeside, and are located in the Ottawa Valley, northwest [...]

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The CIF Price Sheet…how does it stack up to other Indices?

Commodity markets tend to be volatile in nature, given the various factors that can affect demand and pricing (e.g., exchange rates, local policy, global policy, consumer pressures). This reality is no different for post-consumer (recyclable) commodities. Historically, China was the largest importer of post-consumer commodities, and for years it accepted materials that were often heavily contaminated. However, this came to an abrupt end when China implemented its National Sword Policy in 2017. It resulted in MRFs worldwide scrambling to [...]

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Making Investments in Uncertain Times: ‘How-to’ Advice from Waterloo Region

With news that transition to Full Producer Responsibility was expected to take hold in Ontario, but without a target date, Waterloo Region staff took a close look at the needs of its Material Recovery Centre (MRC). Since 2012, the Region had moved from 4-stream to 2-stream collection – where glass was commingled with other containers and brought into the MRC to be sorted. This bump in glass now coming into the facility was the first in a series of growing [...]

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Big program change is possible!

Municipal operators face many barriers to making changes in their programming, whether they be councillors, residents, and even internal disagreement about the right course of action.  This week’s blog showcases one municipality that was willing to make a major change to its program in a short time period to secure better market access for fiber materials and reduce its processing costs. It acted decisively in the face of challenge and achieved significant success. A tight transition timeline – but doable! [...]

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CIF’s 2019 Operations Plan: Funding Opportunities and Events This Year

At its December 2018 meeting, the CIF Committee approved the CIF’s 2019 Operations Plan, which reflects the priorities communicated by Fund stakeholders through a consultation process that is currently under way for the CIF’s new Strategic Plan. Details about the consultation can be found on the CIF web site at and input to date is reflected in this year’s Operations Plan. The 2019 Operations Plan: reflects the desire of stakeholders to focus CIF resources towards supporting efforts to transition the Blue Box [...]

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‘Tis the Season for Wrapping!

A picture’s worth 1,000 words We’ve all heard the saying, but is it true? The City of Ottawa set out to test the theory. Faced with low capture and high contamination rates in its Multi-Residential (MR) recycling stream, the City of Ottawa decided to pilot a new approach building on a simple truth.  If a picture is indeed worth 1,000 words, why not cover Front End Loading bins (FELs) in colourful wraps that feature images of exactly what the City wants [...]

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Get help with stats: New CIF tool and example from Wellington County

When reviewing audit, survey or other project data and trying to interpret the results, you may have asked: “Does my data achieve statistical significance?” This is one of the biggest and arguably most important questions to answer before you start your project because it will inform how many samples you need to collect. To help, CIF in partnership with the Waste Wiki team has created a Sample Size Calculator. The calculator is an excel document that will estimate the number of samples [...]

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Marketing Blue Box Commodities Matters: A Financial Comparison of Multiple Approaches – Part 2

If you recall from part 1 of our series on the marketing of recyclables, a key objective was to outline the pros and cons of the various marketing approaches that municipalities could pursue. In this blog, we present a financial comparison of the approaches with the intent being that municipalities and municipal programs utilize the data internally to evaluate the effectiveness of their approach. Revenue from the sale of containers in five different communities over the past three years (July [...]

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