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City of Calgary dumping 2,000 tonnes of clamshell containers

Around 2,000 tonnes of stored plastic clamshell containers will be tossed in the landfill this month, according to the City of Calgary.

The City says since April its recycling coordinator found a solution for recycling clamshell plastics with Calgary-based Merlin Plastics. 

All options for previously stored containers have been exhausted. 

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“This is the first time we’ve had to landfill material due to market issues, and we are just as disappointed as many Calgarians will be about this. Our priority has always been to keep all recyclable materials out of the landfill,” said Sharon Howland with the City of Calgary, in a media release.

Global market impacting municipalities: City

Those containers have been stored by the City of Calgary from September 2017 until last April.

The City said they were stored in order to thoroughly investigate all recycling options. They wanted to give global recycling markets time to stabilize and domestic processors time to adjust to changes in the global recycling market. Changes to the global market have left some recyclable material, like clamshell plastic, with limited options for recycling. 

Over the course of two years, the City explored more than 50 different options. Those included recycling, alternative use and waste-to-energy for the stored clamshell plastic.

Calgary clamshell cost

The City estimates the cost to store the clamshells has been around $330,000 to date. The cost of landfilling the stored clamshells is around $130,000. 

Howland said the clamshells represent about one to two per cent of the annual Blue Cart tonnage.

Dumping the plastics is a setback, Howland said. But it was important to focus on finding a long-term solution for all of Calgary’s clamshells.

“We need Calgarians to continue recycling and keeping these materials out of the landfill. There is no future without recycling. We have a single planet with finite resources and we need recycled materials to conserve resources and put materials back into productive use.”

The City says 95 per cent of Calgary households use their Blue Cart on a regular basis.

More information about clamshell recycling can be found here.