Citizens say Calgary doesn’t have enough depots

moneybackresizedThe apparent shortage of bottle depots in Calgary was a topic of discussion for City Council on Feb. 25.

The motion, which was introduced by Ward 10 Ald. Andre Chabot, put forward a request for a report to be commissioned about potential solutions for beverage container recycling in Calgary.

The action is in response to a lack of bottle depots in wards such as his own, he says. Other aldermen also voiced their concern that their wards had only one or no bottle depots at all.

bottle depotCouncil is looking to add more bottle depots, like the Money Back Bottle Depot located at 2835 37 Street SW, to Calgary.

Photo by Joel DrydenCouncil discussion focused on how the city would add new facilities, while taking into consideration land use and the impact of construction on the city’s ecological footprint.

Chabot says he wants to have the new bottle depots more accessible to families by placing them in strip malls.

He says this would help reduce the ecological footprint recycling brings because currently, families who don’t live near a bottle depot have to drive further in order to recycle.

“We want to try to provide increased opportunities for people to do the environmentally conscious thing, which is to recycle.”

The motion comes in response to the Government of Alberta’s targeted 85 per cent return rate of recycled bottles. According to a Metro article, Calgary trails Alberta’s annual beverage container returns per capita, with Calgary at 447 and the rest of the province at 577.

City Council came to the agreement that changes did need to be made. However, not all aldermen agreed without voicing concerns.

Among City Council, four of the 13 aldermen present voted against the motion due to concerns over environmental impact and zoning regulations. Mayor Naheed Nenshi also supported the motion.

The four members against the motion:

  • Ald. Dale Hodges (Ward 1)
  • Ald. Druh Farrell (Ward 7)
  • Ald. Gael MacLeod (Ward 4)
  • Ald. Brian Pincott (Ward 11)

The other nine members who voted with Chabot:

  • Ald. Peter Demong (Wardv14)
  • Ald. Richard Pootmans (Ward 6)
  • Ald. Gord Lowe (Ward 2)
  • Ald. Jim Stevenson (Ward 3)
  • Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart (Ward 13)
  • Ald. Shane Keating (Ward 12)
  • Ald. Ray Jones (Ward 5)

Ward 3 Ald. Stevenson noted that the Beverage Container Management Board sets its own regulations for distance between bottle depots.
They currently mandate a three-kilometre radius between the depots.

Chabot says council would have to work with the board to get a report on how to work together to facilitate closer depots or new solutions.

Innovative solutions to Calgary’s recycling barrier include:

  • Placing bottle depots in strip malls
  • Introducing options used in other cities, such as automated bottle return machines
  • A system where citizens can drop off their bottles at bottle depots and receive credit in a deposit account

These ideas will be addressed in the report that administration will work on with representatives from the board. They will report back to council within a few months.

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