Green Routine - waste services

Recycling changes in effect

As of September 10, only blue bags with correctly sorted items will be picked up.

If your blue bag isn’t picked up, don’t worry! Look for the sticker – it will note what needs to be removed or changed. Once you’ve done so, your bag can go out for collection the following week.

Waste sorting changes came into effect on June 6. Thank you for working with us over the past few months.

We understand that change takes time. Learn more about the recycling changes and Green Routine 2.0.


2018 Waste Collection Handbook (2.3 MB)

See our Green Routine waste services quick guide (6.2 MB)

Green Routine overview

What is the Green Routine?

The Green Routine is what we call our weekly waste collection services. Waste services include a curbside recycling program, organics collection and roll-out collection carts.

This system asks residents to sort their waste into organics, waste and recycling.

Frequently asked questions.

Organics

Green organics cartOrganics go into your green roll-out cart. Use the small covered pail (green catcher) to collect organics in your kitchen, then transfer them to the large cart for collection.

What goes in the green cart?
Food scraps, soiled paper, coffee filters, plant materials, twigs, kitchen scraps, grass clippings

How much can I put out for collection?
All organics must fit inside the cart with the lid closed. Overfilled carts or materials left outside the cart will not be collected.

How often do I put my organics out for pickup?
Every other week (alternated with waste)
From mid-June to mid-September organics is collected every week

WasteBlack waste cart

Waste goes into your black roll-out cart.

What goes in the black cart?
Aluminum foil, cleaning wipes, items made of two or more materials that cannot be taken apart (i.e. chip bags, granola bar wrappers)

How much can I put out for collection?
All waste must fit inside the cart with the lid closed. Overfilled carts or materials left outside the cart will not be collected.

How often can I put my waste out for pickup?
Every other week (alternated with organics)

Recycling

ph-UT-blue-bag-214x300.jpg

Recycling goes into clear blue plastic bags only. Bags can be purchased at most grocery or home improvement stores.


What goes into recycling?

All items must be clean and free of food, liquids and dirt.

Clean items accepted:

  • Hard plastic containers or bottles. No lids or caps. (e.g. shampoo, detergent or condiment bottles; margarine or large yogurt containers; ice cream pails)
  • Aluminum and tin cans, pies plates and containers (clean and in original shape)
  • Wrapping paper (no foil); greeting cards (decorations removed)
  • Office paper, envelopes, craft paper
  • Magazines, flyers, newspaper, catalogues
  • Books with front and back covers removed
  • Cardboard, flattened (60 cm by 1 m or smaller)
  • Boxboard (e.g. cereal, cracker, cookie boxes)

How much can I put out for collection?
As many bags as you need. There is no limit.

How often do I put out my recycling for pickup?
Every week.

Green Routine FAQs

  • 1. Why do I need to separate recycling and organics?

    Sorting materials is a major step in reducing the amount of material Strathcona County sends to the landfill. The Green Routine has the potential to divert up to 89 per cent of waste.

    Waste now has to travel further away, meaning higher transportation costs. By moving to a system that recycles and composts a large amount of waste, we are able to minimize rate increases as transportation costs rise.

    By having you separate organics, waste, and recycling we are able to reduce our waste collection service fees, saving money for customers and the county.

  • 2. Where are the sorted materials sent to?

    Households are asked to sort their waste into three streams because the contents go to three different places.

    • Organics materials are sent to a regional organics processing plant. The organics will decompose and, in time, become nutrient-rich soil that will be used in landscaping and land reclamation projects.
    • Recyclables are sent to a local material recovery facility. Recyclables are broken down to make new material or products. For example, some plastics are used to make fleece and paper is used to make new paper products, such as egg cartons.
    • Waste is sent to the Roseridge landfill. 
  • 3. Why can't I just use my garburator for organic materials?

    We do not recommend using your garburator.

    • Kitchen scraps disposed using a garburator end up at the wastewater treatment plant where they are removed and sent to the landfill because the material is no longer suitable for composting. This not only increases the amount of materials being sent to the landfill but also increases wastewater treatment costs.
    • Over time organic material will collect in the pipes and lead to sewer backups.
    • Garburators use extra water, so you will be paying for the extra water you use to flush the organic material down the sink and the extra wastewater that is leaving your house.
  • 4. What can I do to prevent odours coming from my waste bins?

    Here are some tips for preventing odours:

    • Store your carts in a shaded or covered area
    • Layer your organics in the cart. Place a layer of paper or newspaper on the bottom, then alternate layers between wet waste and dry waste.
    • Add a small amount of baking soda, salt, vinegar or powdered detergent (without bleach) around the lips, vents and at the bottom of the cart
    • Wrap wet or smelly organics in newspaper, paper bags or soiled boxes
    • Use a compostable bag for organics. Make sure the bag is compostable (not biodegradable or plastic)
    • Rinse your cart regularly during summer months
    • Put your organics cart out on its proper collection day even if you only have a small amount
    • Rinse recyclable containers
    • Use a regular black garbage bag in the waste cart
  • 5. My grass clippings don't fit into my organics cart. What do I do with them?

    There are several options for managing your grass clippings:

    • Your best option is to grasscycle or mulch. Grasscycling is a natural and easy process that saves time and money. Simply leave the clippings on your lawn as you mow. They will quickly decompose, usually within three days, and act as a natural fertilizer to the soil. They will also help retain moisture in your lawn, so you don’t have to water as often.
    • Another option is to put grass clippings into a backyard composter. Dry clippings briefly before adding them to the compost pile. Alternate layers of grass clippings with leaves or other organic materials. 
    • You may also bring clippings to the Broadview Enviroservice Station.
  • 6. What kind of bags should I use for the different materials?

    The only bag required for the program is the blue bag used for recycling.

    Optional bags include:

    You can put waste materials into regular green or black garbage bags.

    Organics can also be placed into compostable bags, which are made out of a vegetable-based product that breaks down during the composting process. Plastic or biodegradable bags are not accepted as they do not break down and will contaminate the composting process. Contaminants increase processing costs.

    You can find these bags at most grocery or home improvement stores.

  • 7. My family already uses a backyard composter. Should I stop using it?

    We encourage you to continue your backyard composting. However, it is important to know that the green organics cart can take many materials that cannot be handled by the typical backyard composter including:

    • baked goods and bread
    • cheese and dairy products
    • fish and fish remains
    • grease
    • meat products and bones
    • oily, fatty foods
    • sauces and spreads
    • soiled paper
    • toothpicks and popsicle sticks
    • paper napkins, plates and cups
    • pasta
    • soiled tissue
    • hair
    • rice
    • soiled pizza boxes

    These materials will not properly compost in a backyard pile and some can even attract unwanted pests.

Recycling changes in the County

Green Routine 2.0 – A rethink on recycling

Due to global recycling changes, some of the materials you discard are no longer recyclable. This changes what is accepted for recycling in your blue bag and at the recycle stations. 
 

Top three tips for blue bag sorting

1. Plastic films and plastic flexible packaging come OUT. Remove these materials from your blue bag, including lids and caps. They need to go in your black waste cart. Reuse where possible.

2. Styrofoam and glass come OUT. Remove these materials from your blue bag. You can take large Styrofoam packaging and glass (excluding mirrors and tempered glass) to the Broadview Enviroservice Station (101 Broadview Road, Sherwood Park).

 

3. Keep your blue bags cleaner than ever before. Clean means taking extra care to ensure items in your blue bag are recyclable and free of foods, liquids and dirt.

There’s a sticker on my bag!

Sticker on recycling back indicating why it wasn't collected.

If your blue bag isn’t picked up, don’t worry. Look for the sticker - it will note what needs to be removed or changed. Once you’ve done so, your bag can go out for collection the following week.   

What items go where?

Residents are responsible for properly disposing of materials they no longer need. Check out the

tools

 to help you with your waste sorting, including the Waste Wizard, a printable A to Z list of items, the Green Routine waste services guide, a waste sorting game, and a Green Routine waste collection app. 

 

Making space in the black cart

While some items can no longer go in your blue bag, there are ways to make sure you’ve got plenty of room in your black cart.

Try to maximize space in your black cart by ensuring everything that is an organic material or an acceptable blue bag item is placed in the right spot.

About 80% of blue bag materials are still recyclable.  The majority of what you need to pull out is plastic films and flexible packaging, which is light weight and easily compactable. 

Only 36% of items found in the black cart are actual waste.


Blue bag changes - FAQs

Keeping our blue bags clean

  • 1. Ahhhh, this is overwhelming. What are the top three things to focus on that would have the biggest impact?

    • Plastic films and plastic flexible packaging comes OUT of the blue bag. This includes lids and caps. These materials need to go in your black waste cart.
       
    • Styrofoam and glass comes OUT of the blue bag. You can take large Styrofoam packaging and glass (excluding mirrors and tempered glass) to the Broadview Enviroservice Station.
       
    • Keep your blue bags cleaner than ever before. Clean means taking extra care to ensure items in your blue bag are recyclable and free of foods, liquids and dirt.

     

  • 2. Why are some materials being pulled from the blue bag?

    Keeping your blue bags clean ensures recyclables like paper and cardboard can actually be recycled. We cannot continue collecting certain items that were once allowed in the blue bag. If we did, we risk entire batches of good recycling material going to landfill because of contamination.

    The company that collects our waste and blue bags also processes our recycling at their materials recycling facility. Processors are adapting to these sudden global recycling changes as well.

    It is not sustainable to have the processor try to sort these items for us. Their technology and staff cannot catch every piece of contaminated material or small bit of plastic film.

  • 3. Why can some things like glass, Styrofoam and metals still be collected at the depot, but not in a blue bag at the curb?

    • Some materials like glass and Styrofoam (white packaging variety) still have markets, however the nature of curbside collection often reduces their ability to be marketed.
       
    • When these items are placed in a commingled blue bag and are thrown into the collection truck, then compacted, they often break or get torn into smaller pieces. This becomes problematic during the sorting process at the plant. These small pieces of glass and Styrofoam cannot easily be sorted for proper recycling, and often can contaminate the other materials.
       
    • Removing these items from our blue bag collection will help ensure materials such as paper and cardboard can still be recycled.
  • 4. What if I don’t want to take the extra steps to take these items to the recycle station?

    • To maximize diversion from landfill, as well as maximize space in your black cart, it is best to try to separate these materials at the station.
       
    • If you are unable to do so, they will need to be placed in your black cart and will be sent to the landfill.
  • 5. Will the Broadview Enviroservice Station and recycle events also be changing what they accept?

    • Yes. The acceptable item list applies to all of the County’s collection programs, whether it’s at the curb or through the recycle stations (Broadview, Ardrossan or South Cooking Lake events).
       
    • Additionally, the recycle stations require further separation of materials into the appropriate bins. Residents will need to ensure that they separate these materials accordingly.

    Some materials not accepted in the blue bag will be accepted at the Broadview Enviroservice Station:

    • *Styrofoam – large packaging material
    • *Tetra paks without deposit (e.g. soups, broth, liquid egg)
    • *Small metal item (e.g. coat hanger, nails, broken small metal household item)
    • *Glass – including jars (this excludes tempered glass and mirrors)
  • 6. Why is it important to continue to recycle?

    • The majority (up to 80% by weight) of recyclables still falls under the acceptable items category. It is important to still place this material in your blue bag so that it can be recycled, and energy and resources saved instead of using virgin materials for new products.
       
    • A recent audit of Strathcona County’s household blue bags indicated the following:

      Material type by weight
      Paper and cardboard – 60.5%
      Recycling no markets – 14.3%
      Acceptable plastics – 14.2%
      Contamination – 6.7%
      Aluminum/tin – 2.6%
      Deposit items – 1.7%
  • 7. What does my blue bag collection have to do with global recycling changes?

    • North America’s demand for easy and convenient recycling programs has led to the mass marketing of low grade mixed paper and mixed plastics being sent overseas to be further processed and recycled. Essentially, instead of North American consumers and processors separating their own recyclables into individual commodities, the common practice was to ship overseas to have this done for us. Convenience led to complacency, which led to lower quality and contaminated materials.
       
    • In the past few years, international markets and China, in particular, have begun turning away entire barges of recyclables. Why? Contamination. Excessively dirty and cross-contaminated loads of recycling, possibly better defined as garbage, have led China to raise what is being called its “national sword” policy. Now, loads of paper and plastics are screened and many are being turned away.
       
    • In late 2017, China notified the World Trade Organization about the upcoming ban, essentially saying the country would no longer act as the world’s trash dump.
  • 8. What is considered contamination? What happens if my blue bag isn't clean?

    • Under the new international restrictions, a contaminant is:
      • any recyclable that is not clean from food or liquid waste, soil or dirt, or
      • any unmarketable recyclable item such as plastic film, Styrofoam, glass or any other item that is no longer accepted.
         
    • Materials going into the blue bag should be free of food chunks and liquids, or wiped clean of grease and dirt. Scrape all solid food scraps out of jars, cans and containers. Give containers a quick rinse using leftover washing water to avoid wasting water.
       
    • If contamination finds its way into your blue bag, it will get rejected at the curb, as there is potential it will ruin an entire load of recyclables that could be shipped overseas.
       
    • A clean blue bag has always been a requirement of our recycling program. However, international markets have tightened up their contamination restrictions. This means any food, liquid waste, soils or dirt found on materials could cause a load of recyclables to be rejected and redirected to a landfill.

      In addition, these items are sorted on a mechanical line prior to being baled and sent to market. These lines need to remain clean and free of debris to function properly.
  • 9. Why do the caps and lids need to be removed from plastic containers, bottles and tubs?

    Often caps and lids are not made with the same type of plastics as the container, bottle or tub. By leaving it on, it can cause the item to be unmarketable and contaminate the load.

  • 10. Why are recycling numbers/symbols not being used to identify the acceptable plastics? I thought that if a plastic had a recycle symbol on it that it meant that it was in fact recyclable?

    • While the numbers found on plastic originally helped categorize for recycling, these numbers are no longer reliable.
       
    • For easy understanding, we have categorized the acceptable plastics into the type of packaging. Only hard plastic containers, tubs and bottles will be accepted as the majority of these have markets.
       
    • There are seven different numbers found within triangles on plastic bottles, containers and packaging. These symbols were originally created to help identify the type of plastics being used in the product.
       
    • Over time with product advancements, manufacturers have been using mixed materials, making them harder to recycle. In these cases, the number or symbol only represents the majority of the material used in the product.
       
    • Numbers can be tricky. For example a #1 plastic symbol, Polyethylene Terephthalate, or PET, happens to be one of the most recyclable plastics, and is found on a hard plastic ketchup bottle, a plastic fruit clamshell or even a plastic grocery bag. Even though they all share the same number, these plastics are manufactured differently, thus making them hard to combine for recycling markets.
  • 11. Why can't these things be recycled in North America or even more locally?

    • These materials are sent to where the demand is. The majority of North American’s recyclable materials are sent to international markets to be processed and recycled. Specifically, China happens to be the largest consumer of recyclable products, as it is the world’s largest manufacturing country. 
       
    • There are some domestic markets for these materials. However, at this time, these markets are not big enough to handle all of the recyclable materials that are generated in North America. In addition, domestic markets have equally high restrictions, so even if we could access them, the requested changes to our blue bag program would still be required.
       
    • There are over 60 countries that import a variety of recyclables, and these market options are being actively pursued. Each country's demand for recycling types, grade, quality and cost of transport are all deciding factors that determine what market makes sense for each program.
  • 12. What do processors sort at the plant? Why can’t they sort out contamination and items that can’t be recycled?

    • At the Material Recovery Facility (MRF), a combination of technology and manual labor is used to sort the categories of materials that are placed in commingled blue bags. A number of conveyer belts, optical sorters, magnets and people will separate paper, metals and plastics.
       
    • As the equipment moves very fast, it can be difficult for the technology and the people to catch every piece of contaminated material or small bit of plastic film. If these materials end up in a bale to be shipped, and the contamination rate is found to be greater than 0.5 per cent, then the entire shipment could get rejected.
       
    • Since these restrictions have come in to effect, MRFs have had to slow their processing lines, as well as add new technology and people to ensure they are able to market the materials. This is not sustainable long term without changes being implemented at the curb.
  • 13. Wouldn’t it be better to continue to throw everything into the blue bag and have the processors sort it out at their plant—in case these markets open up again?

    • Although the recycling industry has always ebbed and flowed in terms of market conditions, industry experts are suggesting that these restrictions are the new reality for both international and more domestic markets.
       
    • It will take some time for the industry to shift to find new markets and technologies to handle the unmarketable recyclables. As this could take years, industry is suggesting these changes now.
  • 14. Plastic bags and film are no longer recyclable, yet you want us to continue to put everything in a blue bag? Wouldn’t it be better to use reusable containers or go to a blue cart system?

    • Clear blue bags are see-through, so collectors can quickly scan the contents for contaminants and unacceptable materials.
       
    • Blue bags keep recycling contained, so it does not end up all over your street on windy days or if your recycling is accidentally dumped when being collected. They are easier for collectors to see and handle. They can easily spot the bags and easily toss them into the recycling truck versus the strain of dealing with a reusable container.
       
    • Clear blue bags allow for unlimited quantities of recycling to be placed out for collection. Blue carts limit the amount of recycling to the cart size, as well as requires additional storage of a third cart on the customers’ property.
       
    • Although the blue plastic bags have difficult markets right now, the benefit of using them for collection far outweighs not.

Adapting to global change

  • 1. What can I do to keep waste out of the landfill?

    Green Routine 2.0 is not just a change to what you can put in your blue bag. It is a renewed focus on the waste hierarchy: Reduce and and reuse before you recycle

  • 2. Has the County taken a huge step backwards?

    • No. The County is taking a necessary step to adapt to dramatic global recycling changes. We cannot choose to continue collecting these items as part of the blue bag. If we did, we risk entire shipments of good recycling material going to landfill because of contamination.
       
    • The company that collects our waste carts and blue bags also processes our recycling at their materials recycling facility. Processors are adapting to these sudden global recycling changes as well.
       
    • It is not sustainable to have the processor try to sort items that will not be accepted by international markets from our blue bags for us. Their technology and staff cannot catch every piece of contaminated material or small bit of plastic film.
       
    • The decision to make changes to the program has not come lightly. We are equally disappointed that the recycling industry has changed dramatically in the last few months. However, we know that this is the new reality for the industry, and given we are a small player in the global context, we have to adapt.
    • In order to ensure that we maximize the amount of materials we can find markets for and ensure get recycled, we need to make sure that our blue bag program is full of clean, recyclable items.
       
    • With crisis comes opportunity. With the recycling industry facing this challenge, there will be new opportunities that arise. Technologies will advance, domestic markets will increase, policies will shift, manufacturing will change and behaviors will adapt – this will take time.
  • 3. How have we improved/performed over the past decade?

    • Strathcona County residents should be proud of the efforts over the last 10 years since the start of the Green Routine program in 2008. Our program is one of the highest performing residential programs in the province.
    • Prior to 2008, Strathcona County was diverting less than 27 per cent of its waste from landfill. After a decade, residents contributed to 60 per cent diversion from landfill, which is an outstanding amount of items being recycled or composted (almost 20,000 tonnes per year).
       
    • Even with the upcoming recycling changes, the Green Routine will continue to be a strong waste program, as residents have developed behaviors that will help sustain this program through these current challenges.
  • 4. Is there any way to influence manufacturers to change their packaging for items that are no longer accepted in the blue bag?

    • Strathcona County has been active in advocating the provincial government to enable provincial policy that puts responsibility of the end-of-life of a product to the producer/manufacturer. This policy approach is called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
       
    • At this time, Alberta is one of the only provinces in Canada that currently does not have a provincial EPR policy. Strathcona County works closely with Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, Rural Municipalities of Alberta and the Recycling Council of Alberta, all of which have been very vocal regarding the need for a provincial approach.
       
    • In provinces with EPR, such as British Columbia, the producers manage the recycling system, and it is consistent across the province. This way the producers deal with the processing and marketing of the materials, relieving municipalities of this burden. The producers design a system that ensures efficiency and higher-grade materials that are more widely acceptable on the world market (less contamination) and can better deal with investments in technology, innovation in packaging/products and market development.
  • 5. With these significant market restrictions, does this mean recyclable materials are all going to be landfilled?

    • No. Recycling is proven to save energy and resources, and people will continue to demand effective recycling programs. Alternate markets will continue to be sourced, while sorting technologies and program design are implemented to adjust to changing market demands.
       
    • Where these practices fail due to inadequate ability to meet the new standards, processors will be forced to alter their methods. Processors cannot afford to landfill materials that are intended to be revenue-positive.
       
    • Strathcona County has been making changes to their process to ensure quality is met and recycling is maximized. Changes at the curb are required to ensure this is sustainable for them to meet these new standards.
  • 6. Is there a place where we can recycle our plastic bags, film or wrap?

    • Some local retail stores do have ‘take back’ programs for plastic bags, film or wrap. Check with your local grocery store to see whether they have these programs in place. Or check out https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/ for a complete list of stores locally.
       
    • In addition to take back programs, look to reduce or reuse these items so they do not have to enter the waste stream. Strathcona County will continue to explore opportunities to divert these items from the landfill.
  • 7. Why do some other communities continue to collect some of these materials?

    There are a number of reasons why other communities may be able to collect different materials in their blue bags:

    • They may be using a different material recovery facility that has different technology or processes for separating materials
    • May not be able to make quick program changes
    • Contractual obligations
    • May be choosing to stockpile materials in hopes that they can work on a solution

    However, many municipalities in Alberta are moving in a similar direction to Strathcona County.

  • 8. Is Strathcona County working with other municipalities to coordinate changes?

    • Yes, Strathcona County works closely with other municipalities in Alberta through its partnerships with the Edmonton Region’s Waste Group, the Recycling Council of Alberta, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and Rural Municipalities of Alberta. The recycling industry challenges have been a topic of discussion amongst these organizations.
    • Where possible, coordination of acceptable items are being discussed. Many municipalities in Alberta are facing these same challenges, and will be making changes to their programs.

Waste, your black carts and the landfill

  • 1. Will waste be collected weekly now?

    • No. This would be taking a step backwards. Before we consider such a drastic action, we want to see if what we’ve concluded from our 2017 audit evaluations is accurate. From these audits, we believe there will be enough space in the waste cart for those items that can no longer be recycled.
       
    • As noted in our 2017 waste and recycling audits, we know that there is still opportunity to divert materials from the waste cart to the organics cart. In addition, about 20% of what is in your blue bag is being shifted to your black cart or can be taken to Broadview Enviroservice Station.
  • 2. Will my waste collection bill be going down as a result of this change?

    • There will be no change to the 2018 rate for monthly waste collection services. The rate includes costs for collection and processing of all materials. This is not changing, as the company that collects and processes our materials still requires the same amount of trucks to collect waste, organics and recycling. The materials still require end of life processing, whether it’s landfilled, recycled or composted.
       
    • Your items will still be collected and managed when placed at the curb. Where you sort some of these items is the only thing that is changing.
       
    • Did you know that over the last three years, waste collection rates have been held or seen a reduction:
      • In 2016, there was no rate increase
      • In 2017, there was a reduction of 1.4% to the monthly rate
      • In 2018, there was no rate increase
  • 3. Now that you want me to place more materials in waste, what if I don’t have enough space in my black cart?

    • Again through our audits in 2017, we know that 80% of blue bag materials are still recyclable. The majority of what needs to be pulled out of the blue bag is film and flexible packaging, which is light weight and easily compactable.
       
    • In addition, through a recent waste cart audit in Strathcona County, we know that there is room for improvement:

      Material type by weight
      Compostables – 27.2%
      Actual waste – 25.9%
      Pet waste – 9.8%
      Recyclables no markets – 9.71%
      Wasted food – 9.4%
      Recyclables – 8.63%
      Textiles and reuse – 5.7%
      Enviroservice (HHW) – 3.4%
       
    • Did you know that 45% of what is still being thrown out in our black carts is organic materials? The bulk of this material is pet waste, wasted food and compostable paper products (e.g. napkins, tissues and paper towel).
       
    • Try to maximize space in your black cart by ensuring everything that is an organic material or an acceptable blue bag item is placed in the right spot.
       
    • Can materials be taken to the Enviroservice Station or another reuse option, like local thrift stores or upcycling options? Check out the County’s Hodge Podge Lodge for ideas.           
  • 4. Can I get another black cart?

    • Yes. However, we encourage you to take some time to understand these blue bag changes and the true impact it will have on the available space in your black cart. While we're asking residents to make changes as soon as possible, we understand that change takes time. Residents have until September 10, 2018 before bags with unacceptable or contaminated items are not collected.
       
    • Should you find that you do not have enough space for all of your waste materials, an additional black cart costs $7 per month, plus a one-time delivery/administration fee of $50.

 

Reduce and reuse before you recycle

It's important to start rethinking your Green Routine. Did you know the three R’s of recycling (reduce, reuse and recycle) are in order of priority? Before you recycle, try to reduce and reuse first. Here are some simple steps you can take to cut back on waste and your use of plastics:

Reduce

  • Reduce your use of single-serve containers (e.g.: items such as plastic forks, straws and take-out containers)
  • Buy products with less packaging
  • Bring cloth bags with you when you shop for groceries
  • Plan out your meals. Try this simple worksheet.   Meal planning worksheet (829.7 KB)

Reuse

  • Take reusable coffee mugs and water bottles
  • Pack waste-free lunches. For more ideas click here.
  • Buy items second-hand
  • Fix what you can before replacing items
  • Donate items you no longer use to charity

Recycle

  • Keep recycling to ensure valuable materials are being collected
  • Follow the most current recycling guidelines to ensure raw materials are going to the right place and being processed into something new 


Global changes to recycling

There's been a global change to recycling
How we recycle in Strathcona County is part of a global recycling system. Recently, this system changed. In January 2018, China started placing restrictions on the recycling materials it collects from North America, which is limiting the available markets for some recycling materials. With the restrictions, North American processing companies and municipalities must produce a clean, uniform stream of recycling. This also means the materials we put out for recycling must be well cleaned and free of contamination.

It's time for Green Routine 2.0
Global changes have an impact on how Strathcona County, and all municipalities in Alberta and across North America, are recycling.  The list of items we can put in our blue bags has changed. This is because we can’t risk entire batches of good recycling material going to landfill because of contamination. It is not sustainable to have the processor try to sort these items if they remain in our blue bags. Their technology and staff cannot catch every piece of contaminated material or small bit of plastic film. 


Questions?

Last updated: Monday, November 26, 2018
Page ID: 39493