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Timelines confirmed for curbside recycling rollout

‚ÄčIn a presentation to City Council today, Waste and Recycling staff revealed details of the rollout plans for the City's curbside recycling program set to begin this May.

Blue carts are scheduled to be delivered to all Lethbridge homes between April 15 and May 10. Residents might not want to start filling their blue carts immediately as the curbside recycling pick-up will not begin until all of the carts are delivered. Depending on what part of the city residents live in, the first blue cart pick-up will happen between May 14 and the 24.

"We're excited to finalize details of the curbside recycling rollout to the community," says Joel Sanchez, General Manager of the City's Waste and Recycling department. "We know our residents are eager to get their carts and now we have timelines for when that will happen."

Along with the cart, residents will receive an information package including a user guide for the curbside recycling program, a map outlining the first blue cart pickup dates and tips for managing bi-weekly garbage collection. These materials are also available now in the tools section of curbside.lethbridge.ca.

A vital part of the curbside recycling program is the operation of the City's new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) that will sort and process the recycled materials. The building construction is now complete with equipment installation in the final stages. Testing of the equipment and staff training will happen over the next several weeks in preparation of receiving the first recycling collection in May.

"When collection begins, we will have the community split in two so that each week we are collecting half black cart and half blue carts," says Sanchez. "Based on feedback from other communities, we feel this is the most effective way to roll out the program and maintain a continuous flow of materials to the MRF each week."

The day of the week collections are done in each neighbourhood will not change with the introduction of curbside recycling. What will change is the switch to bi-weekly collection. After the first blue cart collection, residents will alternate putting out their black carts one week and blue carts the next.

The map outlining the first blue cart pickup in each neighbourhood will be delivered with the cart and is also available online at curbside.lethbridge.ca/collectionmap. Residents can also sign-up for the City's handy Waste Wizard tool to print off collection schedules and set up text or email reminders. 

"When you receive your cart, we really want to encourage everyone to take the time to read through the material provided," says Joel Sanchez, General Manager of the City's Waste and Recycling department. "Understanding what goes in your blue cart and more importantly, what needs to left out, will be vital to the success of our program. We need to make sure we are only collecting clean, accepted recycling materials to avoid contamination."

Residents are encouraged to keep their user guides handy to reference while they learned the program and to visit the website often. Here, the Waste Wizard can also be used to search up materials and find out if they can go in the blue cart or if they can be recycled in a different location.  

For residents living in apartment complexes, there isn't necessarily a curb to place curbside recycling at so different processes have been developed to collect recyclable materials from these homes. Working with complex managers, City staff will begin to phase in apartment complexes after single family homes begin recycling this spring. This will start with smaller complexes (less than 45 units). For more information, visit curbside.lethbridge.ca/apartments.

The additional $7/month recycling fee will be added to utility bills for single family homes starting in May. Multi-family complexes will not be charged until the service is available at their building.

Those residents who have been involved in phase 1 of curbside recycling will receive a letter in the coming weeks outlining how they will transition to the city-wide program. After nearly a year, this group of 900 homes and several multi-family complexes have diverted close to 90,000 kg of recyclable material from the landfill.

For more information, visit curbside.lethbridge.ca or contact one of our customer service specialists by calling 311. The public are also invited to chat with Waste and Recycling staff in-person at the Community Conversations Open House at City Hall on March 12 and at the Home and Garden Show from March 20-23 at Exhibition Park.

Media Contact:
Joel Sanchez, General Manager, Waste and Recycling
City of Lethbridge
Email: joel.sanchez@lethbridge.ca
Phone: 403-320-3037