Around the World #2

Frozen Recycling – Canada / Australia

As a newbie to this country and therefore Recycling Alternative, the differences between Australia and Canada are very interesting to this little waste enthusiast. The most interesting to me so far (as I am sure there will be more to come) is the curbside recycling collection.

Firstly, the blue box system was originally Picture 006strange to me, especially the separation of the paper into the yellow bag, and those blue boxes. Not strange as it makes complete sense from a recycling perspective keeping the paper clean, more so that the contents of the bags and blue boxes are exposed to the elements (ahem, do I mention the rain?), and those apparent Coyotes and Raccoon’s (for which I am still eagerly awaiting my first sighting). I can’t help but think about them sticking their noses into the recycling for an investigation, especially those that are not completely rinsed of food remnants. Does this lead to recycling containers all over the road?

In my hometown, the paper and other recyclables are combined together in the one Sulo bin (well you call them totes), so there are usually a total of 3 bins, co-mingled recycling, garbage and organics put out for collection.

I am also shocked (and impressed) to learn there are some areas of BC which encourages its residents to separate into 6 different streams. This does however make me wonder about the contamination rates that would be associated with such a highly detailed separation. Great for educational and recycling purposes, not so great for those who are less enthusiastic about recycling.

Secondly, a couple of weeks ago during that cold spell (well it was actually really really cold for this Aussie) I noticed that my blue box was completely full of snow. I was later shocked to find out that at Recycling Alternative’s other location in Calgary, whole totes of organics are sometimes unable to be collected as they are completely frozen like a popsicle. I initially found this completely hilarious, as this would be a very rare event in Australia, and something I never considered in the implications for a recycling company. Not so hilarious for the occupants who needs their tote emptied or for Recycling Alternative who cannot empty it until it thaws!

I clearly have a lot more to learn about recycling in Canada!