Why is it important to recycle?
Recycling preserves valuable natural resources, has positive economic impacts and extends the life of the landfill.
How does the City decide what items will be accepted in the Blue Cart?
The Curbside Recycling program is designed to collect household paper and packaging. The list of acceptable items was determined at the time the program was established. Items that have the potential to be recycled were listed in the request for proposals from potential recycling processors. The processors were evaluated on the following criteria: list of recyclable items, recovery rates (amount of recyclables captured), ability to market the recyclable materials and cost. Recyclable materials only get recycled if an industry wants to buy the sorted and baled material to turn it into a new product, and that will only happen if it’s economically viable.
The acceptable items list for the program contains items that our recycling processor has found buyers for.
I’ve heard that there have been huge changes in the recycling industry. What does it mean for Regina?
The City of Regina has been fortunate that our recycling processor has been able to maintain markets for all acceptable items in the recycling program and that no recyclables have headed to the landfill due to a lack of markets. In 2019, the City actually expanded the program adding spiral wound cans (Pringles can) to the program’s acceptable item list.
Global recycling markets have shifted in response to China enacting its National Sword Policy which bans the import of most recyclables. With new and more restrictive contamination limits worldwide, it is more important than ever to know how to recycle the right stuff.
Why is there a recycling fee if the recyclables are sold? Doesn’t the program pay for itself?
The City receives a 25% market share of the sales from recyclable materials which reduces the overall cost to the resident. The Curbside Recycling Collection program costs $91.25 a year, billed through a daily charge of $0.25 which is added to the City utility bill.
The recycling fee covers the cost of all components of the program including:
- Provision and maintenance of Blue Carts
- Pickup and delivery from your home to the recycling facility
- Sorting and selling the baled recyclables on the open market
- Education and program support
- Administrative costs
The City receives, from the processing contractor, 25 per cent of the revenue from selling the recyclables. The revenue has been factored in when setting the cost of the recycling fee. A fee is still required as the sale of recyclables does not cover the full cost of the program.
Why can’t all plastics labelled #1-7 go in the Blue Cart? What does the symbol mean?
Not all plastics are recyclable, even if they are labelled #1-7. Some unacceptable plastics include plastic bags, chip bags and foam packaging.
The symbol showing a triangle with a number inside is used by industry to differentiate between the types of resin found in plastics. The presence of a symbol doesn’t guarantee an item is recyclable because it depends on if there is a market for it.
Sometimes I’m not sure if an item is recyclable. What’s wrong with putting it in the Blue Cart and letting the recycling facility figure it out?
This behaviour is called ‘wishcycling’. Although it stems from the best intentions, the problem with wishcycling is that it costs you money.
Recyclables are mainly sorted by machinery with some hand sorting.
The specialized machinery is designed to identify and pull out specific items. The wrong items can damage sorting equipment and prevent the machines from working correctly. More unacceptable items require more staff and time to pull these items off the lines. The contaminants must then be transported to the landfill for disposal.
If unacceptable items get past the hand sorters and end up in a bale, it can lower the quality of the recyclables.
By recycling right, we can help keep the cost of the program low.
Check out the Waste Wizard tool to find out what items are accepted in the Blue Cart.
Some items that are recyclable in other programs can’t go into the Blue Cart. Why not?
The Curbside Recycling Collection program was designed to handle household paper and packaging.
Other programs exist for many other recyclables including electronics, batteries, light bulbs and scrap metal.
Check with the Waste Wizard tool to learn about disposal options for items.
Why can’t I leave extra recyclables beside my Blue Cart for collection?
Recyclables must be placed inside your Blue Cart with the lid closed to keep the items dry. Recyclables tend to be light and may be blown by the wind and create litter.
If you have extra recycling, hold on to it until the next collection day, bring any paper or cardboard items to a Big Blue Bin Depot, or try flattening any boxes to make space in your Blue Cart.
Why can’t paper disposable cups go in the Blue Cart?
While these cups may look like just paper, there is a plastic lining inside. The lining prevents drinks from leaking. Having the plastic and paper fused together means that they cannot be separated and sorted correctly for recycling. When placed in the Blue Cart, paper disposable cups contaminate good recyclables and increase processing costs.
Why can’t plastic bags go in the Blue Cart?
When recyclables are brought to the sorting facility, plastic bags and other stretchy plastics get tangled in the spinning machinery and wrap around other recyclable materials. This lowers the quality of recyclables and increases processing costs.
Check the Waste Wizard tool for other disposal options.
What if my waste is collected in bags and not carts?
A small number of residents in the city receive manual curbside collection. For recycling, you will receive a year’s supply of clear plastic bags for your recyclables. You can put a maximum of four bags out on your recycling collection day. Please place your recyclables in the same place where you set out your garbage for collection.