The city has laid off 18 people at its money-losing Materials Recovery Facility.
The move is expected to save the city $750,000 a year, said Peter Busatto, the city’s General Manager of Environmental Services
The city’s blue box recycling program currently loses $2.4 million a year, a city interim said last September.
The move reduces the number of staff at the facility from 50 to 32.
The move comes as the city reduces the amount of recyclables it handles by ending a money-losing contract it currently has to recycle materials from Simcoe County.
“We’re looking at no longer processing recyclables from another municipality,” said Busatto in an interview. “We’ll only be sorting our own recyclables.”
That Simcoe County contract will end in early June, Busatto said.
The city’s Solid Waste Resources department is currently undergoing a full service review and an interim report last September showed that the city’s blue box recycling efforts are losing $2.4 million a year.
The budget for the program is $4.9 million and the city only recoups $2.5 million from recycled materials, that report stated.
The final report and recommendations of the Solid Waste Service Review will go to City Council in April.
Recycling more materials doesn’t necessarily mean you make more profit, Busatto said, due to a variety of factors, including fluctuating prices of recyclable material and the quality of the pre-sorting of materials before it goes into the blue box.
The city will try and find the affected employees jobs with the city elsewhere.
“In order to be efficient and improve our process for recapturing items that we can sell back to the market, we need to make changes,” said Scott Stewart, deputy chief administrative officer of Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services said in a news release.
He called the layoffs ‘disheartening.’
“The city appreciates the hard work that all the folks at Solid Waste Resources do to make our operations run smoothly and better our residents’ quality of life,” Stewart said.