By Karen Idzik
Mark Collins, the Collections Supervisor with the County of Wellington Solid Waste Services, explained just what can, and cannot, go in the Blue Box to a group of Arthur-area residents at the monthly Congregate Dining luncheon on Thursday, May 31, at the United Church.
Collins explained that the Blue Box program works on the three R’s philosophy – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – and then Disposal.
For ‘reducing’, he said, try to be selective about what you bring home, aiming for less packaging.
He said he would like to add another R – ‘repurposing’ — which involves using something for another use such as turning a snowboard into a coffee table.
Collins said for the ‘recycling’ ensure that materials are acceptable within the program and sorted properly.
He explained there are two different types of recycling systems – closed loop or open loop. Closed are items such as aluminum pop cans that are turned into more aluminum pop cans. Open are items such as water bottles that are turned into something different like a fleece jacket.
Collins said recyclables should be separated into two Blue Boxes, with paper and other fibres in one, and containers in the other.
He went through items that are acceptable for fibres such as boxboard, paper bags, egg cartons, potato bags, paper ice cream containers, and phone books. Coffee cups and lids cannot be placed in the Blue Box.
Other unacceptable items are flowerpots, aerosol cans, drinking glasses, ceramic dishes, fluorescent bulbs, and regular light bulbs.
He said if there are unacceptable items in the Blue Box those collecting them will put an “Oops” sticker on the bin to explain why the items weren’t collected.
Collins explained the county does periodic audits and go through the garbage and Blue Box bins from a few houses to see what went where.
He said the county currently has a 75 per cent capture rate but is looking for an 85 per cent capture rate. He said they are hoping to increase their capture rate through education and expanding what items they can take.
For more information on the Blue Box program, or other waste management issues, the web site is www.wellington.reuses.com or www.wellington.ca.