Reginans Need Lessons in Curbside Recycling

Tim Teeple and his team at Emterra Environmental have seen everything - and that includes the kitchen sink."We see all kinds of things come across that line. It's incredible," said Teeple, general manager of Emterra, the City of Regina's curbside recycling partner.That's why the city is still working to educate citizens about what can and can't go into those blue bins that are picked up every two weeks.Do throw in: paper, plastic numbered 1 through 7 inside the little recycling logo (did you know it's called a Mobius loop).Don't throw in: Styrofoam, un-Mobius-looped plastic, clothes, food waste, Christmas lights, propane tanks, deer carcasses - yes, Emterra has seen dead animal carcasses a few times."People are probably just unclear, because it's the green-cycle thing, like 'everything's recyclable,'" said Teeple., some city waste staff will be working to answer recycling-related questions. They were set up at the Sportsplex and Northwest Leisure Centre on the weekend; catch them next at the Sandra Schmirler Leisure Centre on Tuesday, 4-8 p.m.It's meant as "a refresh" of information, said Janet Aird, the City of Regina's manager of waste diversion services."I think it's just that people have really good intentions. You read the label and sometimes you think it can go in, but our program just can't accept it because maybe there's not an end market for it," said Aird."The program is intended to address packaging material ... Christmas lights are not packaging," added Teeple. "Keep dangerous stuff out and keep the animal carcasses out."On the flipside, Reginans are still seeing some recyclables as trash."We forget about our bathroom stuff, like our shampoo bottles, our conditioner bottles; those things can go in as well. People focus on the kitchen items and not so much those other items," said Aird.Which may be the reason Emterra isn't seeing the tonnage Teeple expected - although Aird said there has been consistent interest in curbside recycling and some residents are requesting more frequent recycling pickup.Teeple recognizes this is a "green" program (no pun intended - he meant new). But almost three years into Regina's curbside recycling program, Emterra is picking up 900 metric tons per month, when he initially expected 1,200 to 1,500."We're not really bad, but we're not where we should be with our population base," said Teeple.That might not be entirely the recyclers' fault, though.Packaging is more lightweight than it was a few years ago. Take waterbottles, for example."It's considerably lighter; the plastic is so much thinner," said Teeple. "A couple years ago, say it would take 5,000 bottles to make a bale. Well now those 5,000 bottles are probably more like 7,000 bottles."Get all your recycling know-how at . The website includes a chart of what is and isn't recyclable, and offers clues of how to dispose of those things not accepted by curbside recycling (like chemicals, batteries, plastic bags and coffee grounds).

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