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Urgent plea for support of local blue box program


Recycle Action Inc. runs a successful blue box program for many communities in Prescott-Russell and helps provide em- ployment for those with limited job skills while providing recycled material supply markets with tons of old newspapers, tin cans, glass bottles and other items, which would overload local landfills. Now Groupe Convex, the non-profit so- cial service agency, which created Recycle Action Inc., fears that the provincial govern- ment’s new Waste Free Ontario Act could result in private sector competition from outside of the region and eliminate all the good work the local blue box program has done. “For us, maintaining this value-added service is a priority,” said Caroline Arcand, Groupe Convex executive director, to the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) during its Nov. 22 meeting. The legislation, if approved, would amend the Blue Box Program Plan which Stew- ardship Ontario oversees. The change that worries Groupe Convex most concerns the possibility that Stewardship Ontario could give away the contract for post-collection service to an outside private contractor, which could undercut Recycle Action in a Request-for-Proposals bid. Post-collection service includes sorting, processing and separation of recyclables for storage and later sale to recycled material supply companies. Many of the jobs that Groupe Convex clients now enjoy are at the Recycle Action Inc.’s recycling centre in Hawkesbury. Since Recycle Action Inc. began, the recy- cling arm of Groupe Convex has expanded its recycling operations to include other materials like corrugated cardboard and Styrofoam, and also set up an electronic waste recovery program to collect used and defunct electronics like old computer moni- tors, TV sets, radios, digital cameras and similar items, disassemble them to salvage components for sale to dealers in useable recycled electronics parts or who salvage certain high-value metal or crystal compo- nents from used electronic parts. The Hawkesbury-based business has also launched a program for collecting and re- cycling the type of industrial-grade plastic used for wrapping hay bales on area farms. The farm plastic program is now in its third year and has diverted more than 100 tons of farm plastic, so far, from area landfills in Prescott-Russell. Arcand noted that Recycle Action repre- sents both economic and social benefits to the Prescott-Russell area. Groupe Convex has sent a letter to On- tario Environment Minister Chris Ballard outlining its concerns, and is campaigning for local and regional support for Recycle Ac- tion Inc. Arcand noted the non-profit agency is also working on a new business plan “to maintain our program” in anticipation of approval of the Waste Free Ontario Act. All eight mayors on UCPR council gave unanimous approval to a resolution of sup- port for Groupe Convex, which the agency can present to the minister during a future meeting.

Recycle Action Inc. est une entreprise de recyclage et de récupération basée à Hawkesbury et mise sur pied par Groupe Action pour offrir des emplois aux clients du Groupe Action et aussi leur permettre de jouer un rôle plus actif dans leur communauté. L’organisme sans but lucratif craint que certaines dispositions de la Loi sur l’Ontario sans déchets, qui traitent de la sous-traitance des services de recyclage, ne désavantagent les organismes sans but lucratif comme Groupe Action dû à la concurrence du secteur privé. —photo Gregg Chamberlain

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