Reducing your household waste while helping the environment is two of the many reasons why recycling is an important ‘green’ practice. Capital Region Service Commission’s Solid Waste Division (SWD) operates a region-wide recycling program which brings in more than 5,800 tonnes of recyclable material per year.
There are four main components to SWD’s recycling business including collection, sorting, baling and selling.
Recyclables are collected throughout the region in two ways. The first is through curbside pickup which is either weekly or monthly depending on the area. Residents sort their recyclables into either the blue bin (plastic and metal) or grey bin (paper products). For large-sized cardboard product such as flat screen televisions, deck screens and other related items, please flatten and bundle if possible (2X3). Large cardboard items not broken down, may be left curbside by collectors. SWD thanks you for your cooperation.
Once collected, the items are transported to the Recycle Building where the next process begins.
There are three separate sorting processes that take place with recyclables. The first sort occurs in homes across the region as people of all ages place items in the blue and grey bins or in the depots in their communities. Once the recyclables are picked up, the items are delivered to the Material Recovery Facility at SWD. Trucks drop the material on the receiving floor of the building. Plastic and metal are pushed to one side with paper products going to the other. From there, recyclables are placed on a conveyor belt which leads to the sorting area. It’s here where as many as eight people sort the items into categories ranging from plastics (numbered 1 through 7) to tin cans to cardboard and milk cartons, among others.
Once enough of one particular item is collected, it’s pushed onto another conveyor belt which loads the pile into the baler machine. A baler is a piece of equipment that compresses the recyclables into a large rectangular cube called a bale. Each bale, depending on the material, weighs between 400-700 kilograms. Once the bales are created, they’re stacked in the warehouse waiting for sale.
A total of 10 different products are made into bales at SWD including cardboard, boxboard, milk cartons, plastic bags, mixed plastics (plastic items with numbers 1-7), Number 6 newsprint, steel cans, aluminum cans, hardpack (mix of cardboard, boxboard and newsprint) and white office paper.