I am excited to announce that on April 15 the City will begin a single-stream blue box residential recycling program in an effort to divert recyclable waste from the landfill and to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of waste management in our community.
You may remember in 2013 the City conducted a four month public engagement process.
The most well received proposed system change was the implementation of a ‘Blue Box Recycling Program.’ Over 90% of the participants in the City’s pilot project supported the implementation of a household recycling pickup program.
The blue box program offers households a simple way to recycle, and will allow households to cut their garbage in half. The recycling collection service will be provided by the City’s third-party contractor Can Pak Environmental.
City staff are delivering blue boxes and collection calendars to all qualifying households in Lacombe. Once the program begins, clean off bits of food and other residue, and place the recyclables in your blue box – no sorting is required. Acceptable recyclable materials include clean plastic containers and lids labelled with the recycling symbol 1-7; metal food cans and aluminum foil; paper and cardboard; and refundable beverage containers. It’s okay to leave labels on metal food cans and plastic containers, etc. Remove lids and caps and place metal food can lids inside the can or leave attached. Remove plastic wrapping from magazines and catalogues. Place shredded paper in a clear plastic bag and tie handles. Do not tie newspapers into bundles.
Do not place paint cans, aerosol cans, lighters, batteries, motor oil containers or other hazardous materials in your blue box. If a container has both a hazardous materials symbol and recycling symbol, do not place it in the blue box or at the Wolf Creek Recycle Site. Hazardous materials can harm people, equipment and the environment.
Other items not acceptable in your blue box include toys, sporting goods, electronics, building materials, scrap metal or houseware items. As well, glass jars, Styrofoam containers/packing material, grocery bags, plastic utensils, and plastic laundry baskets will not be accepted.
The blue box will be collected once per week on your scheduled collection day. Blue boxes must be placed out by 7 a.m. either in the alley or at the front of your property depending on type of garbage collection at your residence to ensure service. If you have more recycling then can fit in your box, place the remaining recycling under or around the box, or place your recyclables in a clear or blue transparent bag. Any material placed in a black bag will be considered garbage. You can purchase an additional blue box from City Hall. You can also sign up for free reminders at www.lacombe.ca/garbage.
Residents will still be able to use the Wolf Creek Recycle Site. Council has directed City administration to modify the site to allow for single-stream recycling, and to continue with its existing hours of operation. New signage for the site is in production, and once they are installed single stream bins, along with cardboard bins, will replace the current system. Please note that glass will no longer be accepted when this change happens.
I have stated before that the manner in which our waste is picked up is secondary to the management of solid waste in the community. We will review the program after one year in order to gauge community support for this new initiative.
In 2012, the City collected 534 tonnes of recyclable material. The City’s pilot project results indicate that volumes should increase by at least 25%, and could in fact double as we implement this program.
A well run municipal recycling program is a key component of modern waste reduction practices. Recycling helps to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill, and helps to conserve natural resources such as timber, water, oil and metals. It saves energy and prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect and process new raw materials. Recycling also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change, and helps to sustain the environment for future generations.
Steve Christie is the mayor of Lacombe.