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Recycling Program FAQs

Effective August 1, 2019, the City of Kenora can no longer collect recycle items in plastic bags at curbside or the Transfer Station.  With the ‘no plastic bags’ notice, many questions and concerns were raised about the City of Kenora recycling program.  Here are some answers to help you sort out the Blue box blues:

Why did the City make this change?

This is NOT a City policy change. The change came at the request of the recycler, Cascades Recovery +.

Plastic bags cause issues in the sorting process of the recycle materials, which results in more items going to the landfill.

What happens if I choose not to recycle?

By choosing not to participate in the recycling program, you will put more items in the trash, which will cost you more in bag tags.

In the end, no participation will cost both the City and Kenora residents more. It will decrease the funding that the City receives from Stewardship Ontario, and also result in a negative impact on the environment. The recycling program will be at risk of shutting down, and shorten the life of the landfill.

What if we continue to use plastic bags to bundle recycle items?

Your recycling will not be collected. You may find a note on your plastic bag informing you that the items need to be placed loosely in a Blue Box or bin for successful curbside collection.

Also the recycling program would be in jeopardy. By sending comingle containing plastic bags, or contaminated items, to Cascades Recovery +, they can refuse our recycle items or charge a higher premium to dispose of the waste we ship to them.

What do I do if my Blue Box/bin is broken or damaged?

If you believe your Blue Box has been damaged during collection, please contact the Environmental Division Supervisor at 807-467-2990.

Do I have to use an official, authentic Blue Box?

No, you may use any suitable and sturdy container, box, tote, or bin to put your recycle items out at curbside.

Will the City provide residents with a Blue Box?

This is a user-pay system. The City cannot provide all residents with a Blue Box. You will have to purchase your own Blue Box or bin to participate in the recycling program.

Is there a size or weight limit for the Blue Box or other bin?

A suggested maximum size is 15W X 22L X 12H. This is the size of the Blue Box sold at City Hall and the Transfer Station.

Larger bins are suitable if they do not weigh more than 25 pounds – the same weight restriction as garbage bags.

You can put out multiple Blue Boxes at the curbside for pick up if you have a large quantity of items.

Where can I buy a Blue Box?

City Hall and the Transfer Station sell Kenora Recycling Program Blue Boxes for $10.

You may also buy a Blue Box or similar bin from a local retailer of your choice.

Can I use a “Safeway” bag or other grocery bags to sort recycle items?

NO, absolutely no bags of any kind can be used to bundle recycle items. Any bagged items will not be collected.

How can I keep recycle items from blowing away?

A cover or heavy item may be used. Consider saving your recycling to put out another day that isn’t windy. Or you may drop your items off at the Transfer Station – open seven days a week.

What can I do to keep the recycle items dry, out of the rain?

A cover may be used. Consider saving your recycling to put out another day that isn’t rainy or wet. Or you may bring your items to the Transfer Station – open seven days a week.

What can be done to keep animals out of the recycle items?

Putting your Blue Box and garbage out the morning of your collection day may minimize the risk of animals or birds getting into these items. Rinsing the recycle items is helpful also.

Why wasn’t my recycling picked up?

There is always a reason your recycling was not picked up.

Here are some factors to consider:
a) Your Blue Box or bin was not out before 8 am on your collection day;
b) Your items were in plastic bags;
c) You had garbage in your Blue Box;
d) Your papers were wet;
e) You put glass in your Blue Box;
f) Your items were dirty;
g) You had hazardous waste items in your Blue Box;
h) You had items that were not recyclable.

Can shredded paper be put out in a plastic bag?

Yes, shredded paper can be put out at curbside or dropped off at the Transfer Station in a plastic bag. The paper is combined with other paper at the Transfer Station and will not cause processing issues at Cascades Recovery +.

Can I dispose of my recycle items in a plastic bag at the Transfer Station recycle depot?

No, plastic bags are not accepted at the Transfer Station recycle depot.

Do I have to rinse items before putting in the Blue Box/bin?

Yes, all acceptable items must be rinsed and clean. This is not new to the recycling program.

Clean materials are more profitable for the City and the recycler, and dirty products end up in the landfill.

How do I find out which items are acceptable to put in the Blue Box?

All acceptable items can be found in the “What Goes Where” feature of the FREE Recycle Coach App.

The list is also found on
tin/aluminum food and beverage cans, plastic containers numbered #1, 2, 5, newspapers, magazines, catalogues, flyers, white office paper, box board, milk cartons, juice tetra packs, fibre egg cartons, corrugated boxboard – broken down to 30 cm x 30 cm.

Which items can be recycled at the Transfer Station?

The recycle depot at the Transfer Station accepts glass, box board, paper, cans, food beverage and plastic containers with recycle #1,#2, and #5, fluorescent tube lights, batteries, electronic waste, grass, leaves, and tires.

Does all the recycling go to the landfill anyway?

All recycle items go to Cascades Recovery + in Winnipeg.

The City of Kenora employs a full-time truck driver to transport all recycle materials to Winnipeg. In 2018, the City transported 97 truckloads (or nearly 1,400 tons) of Kenora’s recycling, and 57 truckloads (or 810 tons) of Dryden’s recycling to Winnipeg.

20. Why can’t I recycle glass?

Cascades Recovery + does not accept glass in their recycling operation and there is no other recycler nearby for glass recycling. Residents are encouraged to bring glass to the Transfer Station recycle depot glass bin so it can be repurposed.

What happens to the glass collected at the Transfer Station?

The glass is repurposed. It is transported to the landfill and used for road sub-base material.

Do I have to sort recycle items?

No, all items can be put in the same bin or in multiple bins if you have a large number of items. Due to the small size of our community, it is not economical to collect separate items from the curbside.

Where does the recycling go?

The recycling is transported to Winnipeg to Cascades Recovery + where the materials are sorted and sold to manufacturers to process into new products.

In 2018, the recycle market was profitable and Cascades Recovery + paid $ 25 – 40 per ton for cardboard.

Can Coney Island residents still use plastic bags on their docks?

No, all recycle items must be loose in a Blue Box or bin. You may use a cover or heavy items to keep recycling from blowing away.

Who pays for recycling?

A small portion, less than 1%, of your tax dollars are spent on the recycling program. Also a percentage of dollars are granted to the City from Stewardship Ontario for participating in recycling programs. Stewardship Ontario allocates funds depending on the quantity of the recycle materials diverted from the landfill. If the participation rate is low, the City will receive less funding, and if the participation rate is high, the City receives more funding.

In 2018, the City diverted nearly 1,400 tons and received $191,000 from Stewardship Ontario. To offset the cost of recycling, the recycle company will compensate the City when there is a good market for the items; however, there is currently an inferior recycling market which means the City is not receiving additional funds at this time.

Is recycling a scam?

No, the recycling program is REAL; although there may not be a market for some items here, such as glass, or the ability to process some items, such as Styrofoam.

The City of Kenora is committed to being a good steward of the lake and land, ensuring we are doing our part to keep materials out of the landfill through the recycling program.