Friday, August 16, 2013

Zero trash goal - know your local recycling guidelines

Recycling reminders - knowing what can and can't go in the recycling bin
You might be surprised what can and can't go in the recycling bin. Learn your local do's and don't so you're recycling everything possible.
The curbside recycling discussion has been on the table for a few years now in Rothesay but only recently have discussions turned to the idea of a regional curbside recycling strategy.

As the Fundy Solid Waste Commission contemplates a $4-million investment to replace the roadside blue bins it makes sense to see where municipalities in the region stand on curbside recycling programs.

Being able to put recyclables to the curb every two weeks should improve recycling participation, which has leveled off over the past couple of years.

Aim for zero curbside trash and you'll get pretty close

Recycling can cut your household trash nearly in half and composting can knock off another 40%. Curbside recycling can do wonders for recycling participation.

Curbside recycling will come with a price tag, but we have to remember that this is all about waste diversion. When the Crane Mountain landfill facility was first created it was projected to last until 2025. Thanks to the current diversion programs like the blue bins for recycling and curbside composting, the landfill is now projected to last until 2048. If our region is able to improve recycling participation then the landfill will last even longer.

Another reason to get more people recycling is that it’s expensive business to be putting recyclables in the trash.  The tipping fee for garbage is $108 per tonne while the tipping fee for compost is $28 per tonne. I don’t know what the Fundy Solid Waste commission might charge to process recyclables collected curbside but you can bet it’s a lot lower than $108 per tonne. What municipalities spend for curbside recycling will help to offset what they’re currently paying to get rid of garbage.

While we keep our fingers crossed that curbside recycling will arrive sooner rather than later I think we can all use a recycling refresher.

  • Only plastics with the numbers one, two and five (inside the recycling symbol) can go in the blue bins. Unnumbered plastics or plastics with other numbers have to go in the trash. Styrofoam is not recyclable. Remember to clean your plastic food containers and remove all caps. Milk cartons are recyclable too.
  • Soft plastic with a little stretch, including grocery bags, shrink wrap and bread bags (clean) can go in the blue bins. Bags labeled biodegradable cannot be recycled and they can’t be composted either. These bags must go in the garbage. Black and green garbage bags can’t be recycled.
  • Metal containers can go in the bin with the plastics. This includes tin cans, pop cans, clean aluminum foil, coat hangers and aluminum pie plates.
  • Corrugated cardboard is valuable so be sure to put it in the correct bin. This is the cardboard that has the wavy piece in the middle. If it’s soiled then it can go in the compost bin. If it’s waxed it needs to go in the garbage.
  • Box board, like cereal boxes and toilet paper cores, along with all paper (including books) can go in the bin with paper. Wax paper and giftwrap can’t be recycled.
  • Soiled paper from fast food packaging can’t be recycled but it can go in the compost bin as long as it isn’t waxed.
  • Don’t forget to recycle your phone book.

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