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Mandatory blue bags on horizon for Colchester recyclable material

Clear bags for recyclables could soon be banned in Colchester County.
Clear bags for recyclables could soon be banned in Colchester County. - Harry Sullivan

TRURO, N.S.

Colchester County residents may want to consider adding “blue bags” to their future shopping lists.

Council is to make a decision at its Aug. 9 Committee of the Whole meeting on whether to change the municipality’s Solid Waste Bylaw to ban the use of clear bags for recyclable materials.

Currently, all county residents are permitted to put out one, non-see-through 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.

“With all materials set out on the same day for collection, it can be difficult for the collector to determine which bags contain recyclables and which contain garbage as some garbage looks very clean and some recyclables are very dirty,” a staff report to council says.

Staff is recommending approval for the change and while the item was included on council’s agenda for its last meeting, the decision has been deferred until the Aug. 9 session.

“So, that has been held in abeyance,” Mayor Christine Blair said.

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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