Red Deer’s waste system falls short

Appalled, disgusted, fit-to-be tied! Just some of the feelings churning through my blood when my empty paint cans, aerosol cans, paint-laden brushes, rollers and trays were turned away from the Red Deer garbage recycling station. The girl at the scales said “you may as well take them home and put them in your own garbage (for free) because unless there is paint in them there cans, it’s all considered household garbage!”

Appalled, disgusted, fit-to-be tied! Just some of the feelings churning through my blood when my empty paint cans, aerosol cans, paint-laden brushes, rollers and trays were turned away from the Red Deer garbage recycling station. The girl at the scales said “you may as well take them home and put them in your own garbage (for free) because unless there is paint in them there cans, it’s all considered household garbage!”

Believing I had made a mistake, upon returning from my fruitless 15-km round trip to the dump, I reread the website. “Keep household hazardous products out of the waste stream by taking them to the landfill’s FREE year round dropoff depot. Household hazardous waste collected is recycled or safely disposed of.”

Alas, I didn’t read it wrong and the list of household hazardous products clearly included paints, thinners and aerosol cans.

Since moving to Red Deer two years ago, I’ve struggled with the pathetic plastic recycling program that only includes No. 2 plastics, as No. 2s make up such a paltry amount of total plastic waste. But I kept reminding myself that you’ve been spoiled coming from Edmonton, the No. 1 municipality in North America for recycle and reuse. You should be happy that there is some recycling happening and that there is proper disposal of hazardous household wastes.

I tempered my disappointment further with the fact that if I’d moved to Calgary, it would be even worse.

But to have my paint products, including empty aerosol paint cans, deemed household garbage led me to conclude: Red Deer’s waste management site (aka the dump), doesn’t give a rip about household hazardous wastes being safety disposed of. Bagging these items to throw out on the curb on garbage day is quite repulsive.

Obviously runny paint left in cans can be recycled for money. But to dispose of dried up paint cans in an environmentally-friendly fashion, well, that just costs too much darn money. And yes, I would like to have used a more colourful word!

B.P. Schimke

Red Deer

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