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City marks one year of curbside recycling

​Lethbridge residents have been putting their blue carts at the curb for over a year now and the hard work has saved 3,750 tonnes of recyclable material from the City landfill.

Waste and Recycling staff report an increase of 119 per cent more material gathered through curbside collection than at the recycling stations for the period of May 14, 2019, to May 14, 2020, compared to May 14, 2018, to May 13, 2019. For the last 12 months, 78 per cent of recyclables were collected at the curb and 22 per cent were collected at the recycling stations.

There has been a 15 per cent drop in the amount of recyclable material being put in the black cart but audits show 10 per cent of the material being collected in the black cart could still be recycled. The City hopes with continued education, this rate will drop even more.

Of the recyclable material arriving at the City's sorting facility, 46 per cent is cardboard, 29 per cent mixed paper, 14 per cent newspaper, 5 per cent mixed plastics, 3 per cent tin cans, 1 per cent beverage containers, 2 per cent high-density polyethylene and 10 per cent contamination. 

A combined 89 per cent of the materials are fibers which have been shipped to mills and recyclers in Canada and the U.S. A combined 7 per cent of materials are plastics which have been shipped to Canadian recyclers.

The program's operating budget was well balanced particularly given it was the first year of the program. Costs which include curbside collection and the operation of the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) neared $5.47 million with revenues from MRF and the curbside collection fees totaling $5.48 million.

Now that curbside recycling for single family homes is fully implemented, the Waste and Recycling team is continuing to implement recycling for multi-family homes which is expected to be completed by December 2021. Education will also be a focus in the next year helping residents recycle often and properly to decrease blue cart contamination and reduce the recyclables still ending up in the landfill.

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