County Selling Material Recovery Facility

In 2019, Doug Ford’s Provincial Government decided to transfer responsibility for waste recycling from Municipal Governments to the companies that produced the waste. This would save municipalities the cost plus give the producers of the waste an incentive to minimize it in the first place.  The timeline for Northumberland is for it to be fully in effect on January 1, 2024.  There are two parts to this: 1. Transferring management and ownership of the Material Recovery Facility in Grafton away from the County and 2. Transferring blue and grey box pickup to a new organization.  The County has now announced part one: the County has accepted a conditional offer from Emterra Environmental to purchase the Material Recovery Facility in Grafton.

Recycling Bin and Boxes
Recycling Bin and Boxes

Here is a summary of the County’s announcement:

The agreement with Emterra was achieved through a competitive process, and includes the 16 acre property and the 55,000 square foot facility and material recovery equipment.

With this transition, Northumberland County will continue to provide collection services for waste, green bin, and leaf and yard waste, but will no longer deliver recycling services. [That is, will no longer manage the blue and grey box recycling program.]

Emterra Environmental aims to continue operating the site as a receiving facility for Blue Box materials and may possibly continue with processing and conditioning of materials, while preserving as many of the current staff positions as possible. The conditional offer to purchase is anticipated to close January 2024, in line with provincial transition timelines for Northumberland. Financials from the sale will be disclosed at that time.

While details about the transfer of Blue Box collection services for Northumberland have not yet been confirmed (part 2 as mentioned above), the Province is currently projecting January 2024 as the date for when producers will assume responsibility for recycling collection services, locally. The County will be communicating with residents throughout 2023, as more information becomes available, to support the seamless transition of the local recycling system to producers.

The County estimates savings of approximately $3 million annually as a result. These dollars will be reinvested into the ongoing provision and innovation of waste services for our residents. [No mention of taxes being reduced].

For more details see County information on their web site – link in Resources below.


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30 March 2023 8:03 am

I for one would really like to see the trail of financials on the Recycle Project since
its inception You know a mini Audit Just so we know whats really transpiring
how do we the public get our hands on this . Any suggestions John ?

Mrs. Anonymous
29 March 2023 12:57 pm

As a consumer, I try to be mindful when shopping to avoid harmful/over packaged products. It’s definitely not easy, especially when it’s something I consider an essential. But if it’s something I don’t really need anyways (grocery store baking in plastic containers for example), I rarely buy it.

I’m not sure if the government is on the right track , but I do think consumer’s need to start taking some responsibility, myself included.

29 March 2023 11:56 am

Unfortunately we North Americans are still thinking within the box. Other nations without the ample landfill space we have here came up with environmentally sound solutions. Singapore often is used as an example (link below) but industrialized European nations use similar technology since the last century…
Unfortunately the majority here don’t even want to hear and consider the facts that could lead us to a “best practices” solution – hence, we as a society continue to muddle through with costly suboptimal practices resulting in constantly higher costs and increasing pollution…..,to%2Denergy%20plants%20for%20incineration.

Merle Gingrich
29 March 2023 9:26 am

I think that this new program falls in the lap of our representative David Puccini. Everyone should write him and point out how this will contribute to the increased cost of all consumable items as they are passed down.

29 March 2023 8:49 am

There is nothing good for the ratepayer in this news. There will not be a reduction in tax from the County and overall the cost to the resident increases as producers pass along all additional costs to end-users. This likely results in more waste to landfill and more bag tags sold. Stay tuned for the County to further reduce the number of bags of waste that can be picked-up each week and a special fee for anything over a NEW limit.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Rob
29 March 2023 10:50 am

and the tags attached to the black bags …. cost ?

29 March 2023 8:34 am

The Sales Price was not revealed Nor was the Cost of Land & Construction or implementation, Nor was the annual operating Losses this whole hidden operation There needs to be some accountability and someone’s Job on the Line . Obviously we have unqualified people at the Helm .
This Oh Well !! Such as Life attitude around here has to Stop at all Levels of Local Govt. This is not their Money to Loose .

Give me a break
Reply to  Sandpiper
29 March 2023 10:26 am

Given that our mayor is on the County Council and Mandy is the Warden ….. should they not share this info with us? Why do we need a County Council at all …… costly human resource costs and building maintenance ….. not willing to keep the old Golden Plough for affordable homes …… once the new one is built wonder if “ my friends “ Premier will sell it to his friends?

29 March 2023 8:19 am

Taxpayers paid for the facility…will we get a tax credit in full when it is sold?

Dave Chomitz
28 March 2023 8:53 pm

I was Cobourg’s representative on the County Waste Management Committee when this facility was proposed – and fought hard against it. The way it was done was an empire building exercise in my opinion. But this is even goofier – Imagine the people who generate the packaging materials are now going to be paid to pick up those materials and dispose of them. And they alone will determine what the home owners of Northumberland have to pay. Another tax that isn’t called a tax. There will be no incentive to REDUCE – which is the first “R” – and I’m sure any REUSING will be funded by homeowners too. Not the counties fault – but a truly wacko idea in my mind.

Cobourg taxpayer
28 March 2023 5:02 pm

I suppose Northumberland County’s saving of $3 million could be considered a bonus however it really isn’t as the money will be spent on “the provision and innovation of waste services for residents”, whatever that means. Details on this would be very useful, will it involve hiring more staff? No doubt. The latest details I could find is that only 9% of what residents put in blue/grey boxes are actually recycled, the rest ends up in landfill. One reason is residents putting contaminated material in the boxes. I’m looking forward to reading what Emterra can do about that. An even bigger issue is what is supposed to be recycled gets shipped to other countries who then realize there is no market and gets tossed in the oceans. What will Emterra do about that? The biggest issue is Producer Responsibility, how in the world is the County/Emterra going to ensure this occurs? Tim Hortons material (and other fast food outlets) will be easy as it clearly says on the packaging but HOW is the producer going to be responsible? More details are needed.

28 March 2023 2:45 pm

Oh great. Free enterprise to the rescue. What happens when the conditional new owner decides to sell up and move on? The county did not communicate with me at all about this conditional sale, why should I believe they will communicate with me during the year about the changes ? Why do we, citizens, voters, rate payers, residents, politicians and bureaucrats always seem to believe corporations are the answer to our needs. County says we will save $3mio. Why not sell off policing, fire protection, roads and infrastructure? Why hasn’t our illustrious Northumberland County Council member informed us of this deal? (I don’t recall hearing about this from our representative).

28 March 2023 2:31 pm

Upon reading this report, my first question is whether or not they will still be doing the weekly pick-ups of the blue/grey boxes and at what cost to us as I imagine it will no longer be “free”. Do any of you have any further information on this?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  John Draper
28 March 2023 4:17 pm

Pardon my skepticism but how can they possibly relate a “producer” (is that the manufacturer or the importer or the retailer or some combination?) to the amount of trash that must be disposed of in Northumberland? Like most, I purchase things locally, in Peterborough, in Oshawa, in Toronto, via Amazon and …

Reply to  John Draper
29 March 2023 8:24 am

Or find away to Bill the Residents of the County when the New
operator can’t turn a Profit on the Pick up end of the Business.
Its always a Problem when a double edged sword is given to the
opponent operator You loose control Hopefully they added some wording in the deal with respect to cost control and increases
over time

Rob Roy
Reply to  John Draper
31 March 2023 3:50 pm

To all the doom sayers are you part of the problem or do you have a solution every manufacturer that produces a million cans bottles or plastic containers should be responsible for recycling , We do it with beer and wine bottles and it started in the 1940.s with milk bottles so place the producers of this waste back to them . we will all have pay some how At least this would be a start