Amos Mercer sorts through and prepares cardboard for recycling at the Calypso Paper and Cardboard Recycling Depot. The facility will close as of Feb. 15.
As of Feb. 14 the Paper and Cardboard Recycling Depot operated by the Calypso Foundation will close its doors permanently.
By KAREN WELLS
LEWISPORTE — As of Feb. 14 the Paper and Cardboard Recycling Depot operated by the Calypso Foundation will close its doors permanently.
Calypso manager Colleen Barrett said there are a few factors contributing to the decision made by the Foundation Board last week to close the facility that first opened it’s doors in September of 2005.
One was a 53 per cent increase in the amount of product they were processing. While an increase might sound like a good thing, the fact that it’s been a year since they have received any payment for the product they produce is not.
“World markets for used paper and cardboard have dropped,” said Ms. Barrett.
While a monthly subsidy from the Town of Lewisporte to help with operating costs and availing of grants to help cover some of the wages of a Calypso client to work there part time, it still isn’t enough to keep the facility going. Add to that wages for one full-time and one part-time employee, equipment costs and no income coming in, and it doesn’t take long to see why they have to close their doors.
“Initially the cardboard facility was established to provide employment for at least one of our clients,” said Ms. Barrett. “It was never a huge money-maker, but as long as we were breaking even it was fine.
“As a non-profit we can’t be operating anything that costs us money.”
The partnership with the Town of Lewisporte was initiated because the Town needed to reduce the amount of fibre product going into their municipal landfill. It became mandatory for businesses to recycle their paper and cardboard products. That is when there was a large increase noted in the product going to the Calypso depot, which increased the staffing requirements.
While the Town subsidy doesn’t go towards wages, Ms. Barrett said even if the Town were to have increased their subsidy it still would not have made the facility feasible to stay open.
Lewisporte Mayor Brian Sceviour confirmed the Town did initially provide the subsidy to divert fibre products from their landfill, but that landfill has since closed with waste being transported to the Central Newfoundland Waste Management Facility in Norris Arm North.
“We started bringing waste to the Norris Arm North facility last year, we didn’t need to have the subsidy there because the waste wasn’t going to our dump anyway, but we continued with it to help Calypso more than anything because we still thought it was worthwhile to keep the cardboard and paper out of the dump if possible,” said Mayor Sceviour. “But we were going to reevaluate as to whether or not we would continue with it (the subsidy), but they have already decided to close.”
Both Mayor Sceviour and Ms. Barrett agreed that the CNWM facilities are equipped to deal with the waste and once the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) is opened those fibre products will be dealt with accordingly.
CNWM manager Ed Evans said the MRF is in the process of being constructed. It should be ready for testing operations in September of this year and there will be an education program beginning then as well to advise the public on what materials need to be separated and how to go about that. Then the hope is to have everything ready to begin full operation of the MRF by January of 2015.
Mayor Sceviour said the Town will continue to pick up paper products from households as they always have (with regular waste) and businesses will still be responsible for their own waste removal (including paper and cardboard). Households will have to have their waste in bags, so if there are larger boxes (such as those used for packaging appliances), they can be disposed of during spring cleanup, or they can dispose of it themselves by bringing it to the CHWM facility.
“I’ve brought things there myself and it really is a nominal fee involved for small amounts of what is to be disposed of,” he said.
As for if the closure of the Calypso Paper and Cardboard Depot will make a difference to municipal waste costs, Mayor Sceviour said that would remain to be seen, as they will have to monitor the disposal costs to see if there is an increase. He doesn’t anticipate a huge increase though, as most users of the facility in Lewisporte were businesses.
“It will be unfortunate for households who did want to recycle these products,” said Mayor Sceviour. “It’s too bad it had to happen, but I certainly understand why they had to close now and why it wasn’t possible to wait until the facilities are ready in Norris Arm North.”
Ms. Barrett extended her appreciation to the Town of Lewisporte and surrounding communities for their support of the paper and cardboard recycling initiative.
The building will remain as property of the Calypso Foundation. Ms. Barrett said they haven’t decided yet what will happen with that building.
“The Foundation has developed various initiatives over the years such as a shoe repair shop and there used to be a furniture refinishing shop,” she said. “So at any point there could be another business opportunity for that building.”
She noted as well there were no job losses as part of this closure. The Calypso client and two employees will work in other areas of the Calypso Foundation.
Businesses and households will have until Feb. 14 to drop off their paper and cardboard products to the facility in Lewisporte.
“It’s a good time for people to do some early spring cleaning,” she said.
The items that will be accepted for recycling include:
• Glossy Magazines
• Telephone Books
• Office Paper
• Shredded Paper
• Soft Covered Books
• Hard Covered Books (remove covers)
• Corrugated Cardboard
• File Folders