Curbside recycling made easy

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Would you recycle more if there was a curbside pick-up recycling program? This is the question that GoingGreen-EnviroClean’s Becky Housenga asked MD council during the regular council meeting on April 26.


GoingGreen-EnviroClean is an independent house-to-house pick-up program that allows residents to toss all of their recyclables into one bin without sorting. Then once a week Housenga takes it away.

“With the curbside program we make it easier,” Housenga said. “You put everything in one bin — clean and dry — and we take care of the rest.”

The cost of EnviroClean’s curbside recycling program would cost residents $15 a month which is on par with the town of Airdrie’s Kick it to the Curb program. Meanwhile, Calgarians pay $8.10 a month for their Blue Cart Program.

“There is only maybe a quarter per cent of the people that actually recycle everything that there is to be recycled,” Housenga said quoting numbers from Statistics Canada.

Twenty five per cent of people recycle cardboard, newspaper and returnable recycling. Meanwhile 40 per cent of people return things that have a deposit on them, such as bottles and cans. These numbers show that 10 to 15 per cent of people don’t recycle at all, according to a Statistics Canada report in 2011.

Housenga already has about 120 clients that she serves in Pincher Creek, Fort Macleod and Coalhurst. Now, she has recently arranged a pilot project within Fort Macleod which will start this fall.

“We’ll do a few hundred homes and see how it goes from there,” she said.

Communities that have curbside recycling programs such as Edmonton, Calgary and recently Claresholm, see waste reduced by 50 per cent while waste at the landfill minimizes by 30 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

She came to council hoping to arrange a pilot project for one of the smaller communities such as Beaver Mines or Twin Butte.

“You realize that in this area of four communities we have a regional landfill and the regional landfill is promoting recycling,” deputy reeve Terry Yagos said, adding that a new recycling building is being built near Lundbreck.

“People shouldn’t have an issue just taking everything in,” he said noting that sorting will be done in-house.

He also noted that council sponsors Cameron’s — the local recycling depot.

Housenga explained that all of the product she collects stays local. However she does take extra materials such as clear glass and plastic bags because she does drop-offs in Lethbridge.

“What I like about this system is that I sort at every stop,” she said. “If things are in there that aren’t recyclable I am able to leave it in the bin and have a discussion with my client. That way the education comes right in hand with the service.”

For the clients who don’t want to spend time bringing in bottles or cans, the EnviroClean team accepts them as a donation. Last year 30 clients from Pincher Creek donated their cans and bottle to a sound of $400 which was then gifted to the Angels Among Us Program. Over $600 was raised in the Fort Macleod area that was donated to the Ronald Macdonald House.

“Our goal is to make it easy. If we make it easy than more people will do it and more people will try,” Housenga said.

“Reducing our waste and being environmentally friendly is always on our minds anyway, so if we can make it easier for them than that’s what the goal of going EnviroClean is.”