The county, running the Green Bin program since 2008, will be launching two new initiatives as part of their diversion efforts. In early 2018, residents will be able to recycle their electronics and textiles from the comfort of their front lawns.
This is the largest, most invested in and utilized public service that Wilma Bureau, contracts and collections supervisor in solid waste management hopes will increase diversion rates from landfills. Currently, over 85 percent of textiles purchased end up in landfills as opposed to being donated for re-use, according to Bureau.
“It’s unfortunate, so we certainly need to capture more of that and keep it from ending up in the landfill,” says Bureau. They create issues in landfills, like producing the greenhouse gas methane upon biodegrading.
Re-use bins have also been set up at waste management facilities through partnerships with the Canadian Diabetes Clothesline program. “We decided to expand that and offer a more convenient service for residents being a curbside collection,” says Bureau.
Next June over a two week period, half of the county will get collection bins one week, and the other half will get them the other week. This includes having bins at waste management facilities, “We just thought that to improve the program, it would help to be more convenient for residents and what’s more convenient than curbside collection,” says Bureau.
Battery collections are happening the week of Nov. 6, where they mail residents across the county a bag to hold their batteries for recycling. “What’s similar about the textile collection, is that we’ll actually be mailing people a bag and the bag will be a defined (yet undecided) colour representing the program,” says Bureau.
This also includes information on what to put in and what not to put in; “we try to make (program participation) as convenient as possible,” explains Bureau. She also admits that their green bin organic program, despite being the most invested in, is something that they could improve on.
“We’re actually only capturing about 40 per cent of the green bin organic material that’s available,” says Bureau.
A contributing factor is the lack of ownership of waste, according to Bureau, “If you have your garbage at the end of your driveway, you’re responsible for it.” If you don’t do it right, it’s going to get stickered and left behind and everybody’s going to see that “and you’re going to end up stuck having to deal with it,” she says.
“I’m really anxious to see how well these new programs go next year for the textiles and electronics. I’m hoping for really successful programs,” says Bureau.
Battery collection week starts soon and residents are asked to put their battery bag out beside their blue bin on their regular collection day that week. “They should participate and use their green bin to the fullest extent possible, be aware of what’s acceptable in the county’s program,” says Bureau.
She also says it’s worth noting that some differences exist between municipalities, not limited to green bin, but also the recycling program and everything else that is in place. “So, ensuring that what you’re putting in the bin is actually acceptable is really important,” says Bureau.
Locals can also check the county’s website for an array of interactive tools including the Waste Wizard and a Waste Reminder that send reminders via email, text or phone on collection dates and times.
For information, visit: www.simcoe.ca.
Photo Credit: Ben Neale