July 2, 2013 - 8:21amUpdated: July 2, 2013 - 3:08pm
A bale of items to be recycled at the Emterra Environmental plant in Regina. Kevin Martel/CJME News.
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There are no major issues so far with the City of Regina's new blue bin recycling program, granted it only started on Canada Day.
Loraas Disposal, Emterra Environmental, and the city updated the public Tuesday on how collection went on the first day. It seemed to go very well according to Loraas GM Curtis West. He said there were a few minor hiccups like bins not being put in the right place or how some were overflowing.
The participation rate wasn' t quite what he hoped for; of the bins scheduled to be picked up in areas of the east like Glencairn and Parkridge, only about half were put out.
"We estimate just over 50 per cent were set out. We hope that that rate increases drastically over the near future," said West, whose company is responsible for the collection.
"Obviously it was the first day of collection and a long weekend, so we anticipate that this was in large part due to people being away at lakes and still on holidays coming back from the long weekend."
As far as contamination or items not supposed to be in those bins, a couple interesting items turned up including toys, a tire and even a slow cooker. Those items are either left beside your bin once it's emptied, or they are picked out at the sorting facility.
Recyclables are taken to Emterra Environmental, which receives and stores them. While the removal of the bins' contents is happening now, the processing of that material won't actually begin until September. The harsh winter has caused construction delays for the Emterra facility near the Global Transportation Hub, making it necessary to store the materials for three months.
Emmie Leung is the CEO of Emterra. She says the building is 50,000 square feet on a 13 acre lot so the company will have plenty of storage space. They'll have the ability to bring in trailers if need be as well for extra storage. Leung said items will be bailed and stacked and when they are ready they will process the bailed materials, along with the new materials coming in.
Recycling will be picked up every second week on a different day than garbage. Most people should have received a calendar outlining the days, but you can also find one at Regina.ca.
Also remember that paper, plastic, glass and tin can all be placed in the same blue bin and there is no sorting required on your end. If you are unsure about what can and can't be recycled, just take a closer look at the item. If it has a recycling symbol on it, you can put it in the bin.
There are some people who are already unhappy with the mandatory program, saying they don't produce enough waste to warrant the extra $91 a year they'll have to fork out. One man has even written the city a letter asking for an out.
"This is a universal program, so there is no opting out," Mayor Michael Fougere reassured.
Fougere hopes homeowners will see the benefits of being good stewards of the environment, and will want to participate.
West says they know it will take some time for people to catch on and get into the habit of recycling.
"We know it's going to take upwards of two to three or four months potentially of continued education to have all the residents on the same page," he commented. "If there's still problems after that, we'll be working with the city to contact the resident."
Also, because some residents have had their blue bins for almost a month now and have been collecting recyclables for that entire time, Loraas will be beefing up their efforts.
"For the first two-week period, because residents have had carts for up to four or six weeks now, we will be sending extra employees in each truck to do manual reloads for the first collection period," West explained, "After that as part of the City of Regina's RFP process, we will only be emptying what's in the cart."
As for right now, those living in apartment buildings and condos won't be given the service in this phase of the program. The City says they are working on a plan for those residents by 2015.
Edited by CJME's Courtney Mintenko. With files from Kevin Martel and Amanda Purcell.