Let’s Talk Trash: What goes where when recycling?

Lingering new year resolutions combined with lineups at recycling depots may have you determined to start taking advantage of curbside recycling service if you live in the city. If you’re confused about what goes where, you’re in good company. What can you kick to the curb and what goes to recycling depots in Powell River?

By now you have probably noticed curbside is more streamlined than depots, but that most of your bulky household recycling can still find its way into your biweekly city recycling pickup.  Plastic bags, glass and foam, however, are reserved for depots alone because these materials break apart and contaminate the rest of our bins, or get tangled in equipment. The good news is that paper bags, office paper, boxboard, newspaper, cardboard and the like can all go directly into your curbside bin, unlike at depots where these need to be kept aside for single stream paper collection instead.

Despite being referred to as a “blue bin” service, much of the time curbside recycling does not require one for pick up. You can use a broken laundry basket or cardboard box if that is what is available to you; just avoid any type of plastic bag or bin that resembles a garbage can, as these will not be collected.

If your pickup reminder service is the sound of the truck working its way up your street, you can get more high tech than that. Sign up on the city’s webpage for a garbage and recycling reminder via text, email, or voice message.

Inevitably, you’ll still find yourself needing to visit recycling depots from time to time. While these don’t host all 22 free recycling programs available in BC, they do accept a few more materials than curbside, including glass, foam, plastic bags, other flexible plastic packaging, household batteries, pens, wine cork and light bulbs. Staff will often receive refundable beverage containers as a tip.

Town Centre Recycling Depot additionally receives smaller loads of compost and business recycling, as well as small appliances and wax.

In these times of so much adapting, including rules around social distancing, depots only allow one person to drop off at a time. Please do everyone in your community a kindness by presorting your recycling to your best ability. No one needs to watch you painstakingly place materials in bins one at a time while they shiver in the wind and rain. That said, if you end up with such a view, it’s a great opportunity to practice patience and compassion, as we never really know each person’s story.

Because materials we put into recycling bins are so varied, there are nuances to what each recycling stream allows. Residents are not left out in the cold without any help here.

Check out the Waste Wizard on the city and qathet Regional District websites and enter in the material you’re hoping to recycle; you’ll find out if they go in curbside or one of the many drop-off locations around town. You can also look up the Waste Wise Guide for a downloadable guide to all things waste and recycling related for our region.

As always, reducing what we bring into our lives in the first place is the most direct route to zero waste.

Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program. For more information, email info@LetsTalkTrash.ca or go to LetsTalkTrash.ca.

Copyright © Powell River Peak