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County opts not to toss school recycling program

County councillors give their full support to continuing Living and Learning Green program in local schools
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A county-wide school recycling program will continue after a motion made by Collingwood’s mayor received unanimous support from those around the council table, Tuesday.

The issue came up at yesterday’s Simcoe County council meeting after a staff report indicated the collection vehicle used for the program had reached the end of its useful life span and, if the program were to continue, would need to be replaced at a cost of $330,000.

Collingwood Mayor Brian Saunderson said he recommended the program be renewed in full and without any service reduction. The motion received unanimous support in favour of continuing the program.

The Living and Learning Green program is a partnership between the county and local school boards to run the same level of recycling and organics collection available to residential homes in the county at all local schools. A front-end collection vehicle is used to pick up commercial-type waste bins containing recyclables and organics from the schools.

The program has been in place since 2010 and, according to Saunderson, was established to encourage youth to recycle using a school's waste-diversion program and educate them about recycling in hopes of taking that information back to their home. 

In 2010, the program collected 73.8 tonnes of organic waste from Simcoe County schools and 451.81 tonnes of recycling.

Last year, the program collected 110 tonnes of organics and 580 tonnes of recycling.

“Simcoe County is a leading region in Ontario and Canada for waste diversion with an annual rate of between 60 to 65 per cent, and I believe that the success of this program is one of the key reasons for the county’s impressive waste diversion record,” Saunderson said.

The program's operating costs are shared between the school boards and the county. In 2018, the county paid $156,960 toward the operating expenses of the program and the school boards contributed $110,778.

Capital costs, such as a new truck, for example, are the sole responsibility of the county.

The truck is required because the county’s curbside collection is currently contracted to Waste Connections of Canada, and their vehicles are designed for curbside collection of residential materials rather than commercial bins.




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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor.
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