Get ready for the green carts — the City of Red Deer is preparing to truck out new receptacles for yard waste and other organic matter.
Red Deer households can expect to get the tallish wheeled bins by April 8. The green carts will begin to be delivered by city workers to local residences next month, continuing through March.
Janet Whitesell, the city’s superintendent of waste management, said everything from leaves and grass cuttings, to vegetable peels, cooked meat bits and old bread can be thrown into the carts.
They will be picked up by an automated arm on a garbage truck — requiring no worker to risk injury by lifting heavy bags — and their organic contents taken to a composting site.
Whitesell said a successful green cart pilot program found 39 per cent less garbage was landfilled by households who put all their organic waste into the carts.
In 2019, two more wheeled receptacles will be delivered to Red Deer households — a black cart for regular garbage, and a blue cart for recyclables.
Whitesell said most residential collection sites — whether in back lanes or front-yard curbs — will remain the same.
The only real change will be that glass recyclables won’t be accepted in the blue carts starting next year. The reason is worker safety, and avoiding the potential of broken glass contaminating other recyclables.
Bottles make up most household glass waste, and should be taken to the bottle depot for a refund whenever applicable, she said, while jars can still be recycled beyond 2019 if they are taken directly to the landfill.
In the meantime, Whitesell is confident that local recyclables will be processed as usual, in spite of a stir caused by China’s announcement that it would no longer act as the world’s trash dump.
China, which consumes 55 percent of the world’s scrap paper and is a major destination for other recyclables, is banning 24 types of solid waste and setting a much tougher standard for contamination levels.
Whitesell doesn’t blame China for getting tough with nations that don’t do a good enough job of cleaning recyclables, or separating different types of plastics and papers. “China is not acting unreasonably. They have a right to get that they are expecting to get,” she said.
But Red Deer’s blue box contents are largely processed by a North American company — Whitesell said only a very small portion of local garbage — the mixed papers and magazines — are shipped to China. Therefore, she doesn’t expect any immediate local impact from the ban.