The City of Lacombe is now a blue box community.

The City of Lacombe is now a blue box community.

Lacombe launches blue box recycling program

The City of Lacombe is now a blue box community.

The City of Lacombe is now a blue box community.

A residential collection program to divert recyclable waste from the landfill and improve the sustainability of waste management in the community started on Monday, with the official kickoff on Tuesday.

City utilities manager Chris Huston said to prevent any confusion, recyclable materials are the same as what can be dropped off at the Wolf Creek Recycling Centre. That includes plastics with recycling symbols 1 to 7, but no glass — for now.

“That’s not written in stone. If something does change to reintroduce (glass), by all means we’ll reintroduce it,” Huston said on Tuesday.

He said the city anticipated that only 1 and 2 plastics would be collected in blue boxes, but bids to run the program showed 1 to 7 plastics could be collected door-to-door.

Can Pak Environmental is operating the blue box program for Lacombe.

The city will review the recycling program after one year to gauge community support.

Blue boxes were introduced as a result of last year’s Solid Waste Pilot Project, in which over 90 per cent of participants supported the implementation of a household recycling collection service.

Monthly residential rates for waste collection increased to $27.09 from $23.67 to reflect the blue box program.

Households are expected to be able to cut their garbage destined for the landfill in half.

Up until now, residents had to take their recyclables to the Wolf Creek Recycling Centre. The centre will be updated in the future with new signs.

In 2012, the city collected 534 tonnes of recyclable material. That amount could double with the blue box program.

Materials that are accepted in blue boxes include clean plastic containers and lids labelled with the recycling symbol 1 to 7, metal food cans and aluminum foil, paper and cardboard, and refundable beverage containers.

Labels can be left on metal food cans and plastic containers, etc. Residents are asked to 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; and do not tie newspapers into bundles.

Residents should not put paint or aerosol cans, lighters, batteries, motor oil containers or other hazardous materials in their blue boxes.

If a container has both a hazardous materials symbol and recycling symbol, do not put it in the blue box or take it to the Wolf Creek Recycle Site.

Other items not acceptable in the blue box include toys, sporting goods, electronics, construction material, scrap metal or houseware items, glass jars, Styrofoam containers or packing material, grocery bags, plastic utensils, and plastic laundry baskets.

Blue boxes will be emptied once per week on residents’ scheduled collection day. They must be placed out by 7 a.m. either in the alley or at the front of the property, depending on where garbage collection occurs.

If residents have more recycling then can fit in the blue box, place the remaining recycling under or around the box, or place recyclables in a clear or blue transparent bag. Any material placed in a black bag will be considered garbage and will not be collected.

People can purchase an additional blue box from Lacombe City Hall. Call 403-782-6666 for more information.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com