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Colchester County Council votes ‘blue’ for recyclable bags

Blue bag
Blue bag - Contributed

It’s official – Colchester County is going blue. At least when it comes to disposing of recyclable materials.

County council has approved second and final reading to an amendment to its Solid Waste Bylaw that will make it mandatory to use transparent blue bags for all recyclable products.

Going forward, clear bags can only be used for disposing of garbage items.

Although the bylaw amendment is official as of today, the municipality is providing residents with a grace period until the end of October.

“Although the provisions technically come into effect this Thursday, it is the county’s intention to support a transitional period so that residents will have an opportunity to adjust their disposal practices with the goal of full implementation to coincide with the awarding of the new collection contract for the county, Truro and Stewiacke,” CAO Rob Simonds said, in an emailed response.

The change will not apply to residents in either Truro or Stewiacke as their garbage and recyclable collections occur on different days, unlike the rest of Colchester County.

Despite the transition period, Waste Reduction manager Darlyne Proctor is encouraging people to start using the blue bags now for their recyclables to help reduce confusion once the change goes into effect.

One of the issues with recyclables and garbage materials both being placed in clear bags she said, is that waste such as diapers, kitty litter and medical products were getting picked up along with recyclable materials.

But otherwise, she added, “people are going a great job” of sorting their waste products.

Currently, all county residents are permitted to put out one privacy bag, plus up to five, clear bags of garbage for each pickup, every other week.

Residents are also permitted to put out up to 12 blue or clear bags per pickup for recyclables as well as the green cart for organics.

Beginning in November, clear bags containing recyclables will be rejected by the collectors.

With up to 2,100 stops per collection day, each truck makes an average of 500 stops and the move is designed to make it more efficient for them to distinguish between garbage and recyclables.

Recyclables are properly sorted into two categories, paper and textiles in one and plastics (film and rigid) and glass/ steel/aluminum in the other.

Facts:

  • Colchester County collects garbage and recyclables from 16,561 single-unit homes and 371 duplexes;

  • Last year, the county’s Materials Recovery Facility processed 9,000 tonnes of recyclable materials of which 14 per cent (1,300 tonnes) was actually garbage;

  • Some of the most common “challenges” are bags containing bathroom, medical and kitchen wastes;

  • The average retail price for blue bags ranges between 17 cents to 29 cents compared to between 12 cents and 19 cents for clear bags.

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