Imagine the combined weight of four full-sized SUVs. Now imagine the amount of cardboard, aluminum, glass, paper and other recyclables it would take to weigh as much as those SUVs.
That’s how much material won’t be going into the local landfill after just the first week of Coaldale’s new Curbside Recycling program.
“Judging by these early numbers, it’s been a huge success,” says Cindy L’Hirondelle, operations technologist for the Town of Coaldale. “We picked up almost 11 tonnes of recycling in the first week alone, which is almost 50 per cent more than we used to take in from the recycling depot in an average week.”
L’Hirondelle says she expects that number to increase even more as residents learn more about recycling and get used to separating their trash into the two bins.
“It just makes sense that people will do more when they have a large bin right at their home, rather than having to travel to a depot.”
The new blue bins were delivered over the course of four days to the majority of houses in the Town. L’Hirondelle says out of more than 2,700 bins delivered, only two were returned by residents who didn’t want to take part in the program.
The new service comes at no increased cost to the taxpayers above what is already being paid as a recycling fee.
L’Hirondelle credits the Town of Cochrane for providing valuable information on creating a sustainable curbside program.
“It has been a priority for the town for more than a year now, and once we saw that we could provide the service without increasing our operating costs, it just made sense to go ahead and do it.”
Each bin had an information package attached to show inform residents which day their recycling would be picked up and to which day their garbage pick-up had been changed. There was also information to show residents how to place their bins out for collection.
“The simpler we make it for people, the more they’re going to recycle,” says L’Hirondelle.
The program is expected to have a huge impact on the amount of trash that the town hauls to the landfill every year. Thousands of tons of recyclable materials that would have been thrown out will now be put to good use rather than rotting away and adding to environmental problems.
L’Hirondelle says she conducted some research on her own during the first week of the program, driving around town to see how many people were using their blue bins. She was very pleased with the results.
“I observed lots of full recycling bins set out for collection during the first week of the new program. I think people will be amazed at how much more they’re going to recycle now than they ever did in the past.”