THE OWNER of a local recycling business has had to lay off employees since the city changed its recycling program.
The city had been paying Do Your Part Recycling to process recyclable items taken to its pilot project drop-off depot on the old Co-op property.
But when Waste Management offered to handle everything for free by putting in a depot at its business location, the city took up the offer, doing away with the need to source permanent service delivery on which Do Your Part could have bid.
Do Your Part had noticed a change in its business during the pilot project when many of its residential pickup customers began using the Co-op depot instead.
But city payments to process what was taken there balanced the loss, said Do Your Part owner Casey Lewis.
“I probably retained half of my residential clients,” said Lewis, adding she understands why the city chose not to continue providing the service. “I can’t compete with free.”
Lewis did say some of her clients have since come back to her for pickup service, and that she has faith the business will make it through because the service is a convenience.
She said she is currently able to cover her costs, and that she also has a drop-off service for any interested.
Despite the change in her business, Lewis said after checking out the Waste Management site she was impressed.
“It’s a fabulous set-up,” she said.
In the meantime, Lewis has taken on extra hours herself, bringing her four-year-old daughter to work with her if needed.
She has also laid off three positions, two full time and one part time.
The city had estimated it would spend $70,000 this year on a permanent drop-off recycling depot.
The owner of the company that had been taking the recyclables from the Co-op property to Do Your Part says he was surprised at how fast people took to the concept.
From one pickup a week, Rob Geier from Geier Waste was picking up a 30-yard container full of material four times a week in a corner of the old Co-op property by the time the program ended in April.
“By the end it was Friday and then Saturday again,” said Geier.
“Thirty yards is a lot of material and the bins were full.”
And there were periods when Geier had to gather up material stacked by the bin because it was full.
“I guess in that way being a success was a bit of a problem,” he said.
Geier was hired by the city to haul the 30-yard container to Do Your Part Recycling where the material was sorted and prepared for transport.
“People did a good job of cleaning and a good job of sorting,” said Geier of the material he handled over the six-month pilot program.
Geier was ready to buy a second container just to hold cardboard had the city converted the program into a permanent feature.
“I can understand that part,” said Geier of the city’s decision to use Waste Management.
Still, Geier said he is now paying $250 a month in lease payments for the large bin that had been used in the pilot program.
He’s now looking for another use for the bin.