As Red Deerians prepare for next week’s launch of the three-cart waste collection system, a local woman is raising concerns about where all the recyclables will end up.
Andrea Wiseman thinks more people should focus on reducing, instead of recycling, because she fears many recyclables have nowhere to go since China stopped taking foreign waste last year.
“By sending everyone in town these jumbo carts, (the city) has now given everyone permission to fill them up with more plastic garbage,” said Wiseman in a letter to the Advocate. But who will recycle this waste?
China was recycling about half of the world’s paper and plastics. But as of January 2018, China announced it’s no longer accepting waste materials from other countries.
Janet Whitesell, the City of Red Deer’s superintendent of waste management, doesn’t believe China’s embargo hugely impacts local waste. She said local blue box contents have largely been processed by North American companies.
She believes only a small portion of local garbage — the mixed papers and magazines — were being shipped to China.
The large company that collects Red Deer’s plastics and papers also deals with multiple other municipalities, so it has a lot of “leverage” in terms of finding recycling firms, added Whitesell.
Last week, the city received “good news” — Whitesell was told that another processor for plastics was found in Eastern North America. In the highly competitive field of searching out who will pay for recyclables to process, “they found a better market.”
Although revenues from recyclables have gone down in the past two years, the city still receives a cut of them, so it knows that the recycling is actually happening, said Whitesell.
Meanwhile, Red Deerians are encouraged to check their recycling schedules for next week’s first pickup of green carts, as well as either blue or black carts.
Green carts go out every week on regular garbage pickup days, while blue and black carts should go out on alternating weeks, according to each neighbourhood’s schedule, which was delivered along with the new carts this spring.
Whitesell encourages city residents to hang on to old blue boxes, either to transport recyclables to their blue carts, or for use as storage containers for smaller items.
Garbage containers can also be repurposed as storage, or kept around for the times of year when there are extra lawn wastes that won’t fit into the green carts. Whitesell said old or cracked garbage containers can be recycled at recycling depots.
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