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New recycling system coming to Thunder Bay

By CJ Goater May 1, 2024 | 2:25 PM

Jason Sherband Manager of Thunder Bay Solid Waste and Recycling Services (CJ Goater/Acadia Broadcasting)

Starting on July 1, Thunder Bay residents will have a new system of bringing recycling out on garbage day, with a new provider.

The city will no longer be providing recycling services, with GFL Environmental Inc., taking over the service.

Residents will transition to wheeled recycling carts to place recycling at the curb, and the city is stressing that GFL will no longer be accepting recycling bags after the transition.

“These carts will start getting delivered to people’s homes starting early next week, so it’s coming and it will wrap up towards the end of June,” said the Manager of the City’s Solid Waste & Recycling Services Jason Sherband. “Couple of key points that we really want to hammer home here; One is when you get those carts you can’t use them until July 1. (Two is) the fact that blue bags will no longer be used or are allowed to be used after July 1, so we really want to remind people of that (and) encourage people to use them up.”

The carts are free and will be delivered to every household with the cart being assigned to a home address instead of a person living there, so if you move your bin stays.

“This change in responsibility is being phased in all over Ontario,” said Sherband. “It only affects the management of residential Blue Box (blue bag) recycling services. Circular Materials is working with GFL to continue to provide collection services for residential curbside recycling, and GFL is introducing a much-anticipated automated recycling cart system. We are working closely with both organizations to ensure a smooth transition of services.”

GFL Environmental Inc. (Green For Life) will be responsible for setting up the new recycling cart system.

This change comes as a province-wide regulatory change that shifts responsibility for municipal recycling programs in Ontario to the producers of paper products and packaging, as part of the Enhanced Producer Responsibility program is ongoing.

Moving forward beyond July 1 the City will no longer be responsible for the residential recycling program. The responsibility for the collection and recycling of Blue Box materials will be on producers. Until July 1, the City remains responsible for these services.

Starting July 1, Circular Materials, the administrator of the common collection system in Ontario, will manage the residential recycling program in Thunder Bay.

“As we embrace the transition to a more sustainable future, Circular Materials is pleased to collaborate with GFL Environmental in modernizing Thunder Bay’s residential recycling program,” said CEO of Circular Materials, Allen Langdon. “By introducing wheeled recycling carts and shifting responsibility to producers, we’re not just changing habits, we’re reshaping the landscape of environmental stewardship and forging a path towards a more efficient future.”

Residents’ collection day, frequency of collection and list of acceptable recyclable materials will not change.

GFL will continue to operate the existing, three City-owned residential recycling depots during the transition period between July 1, 2024, and Dec. 31, 2025.