Monday, October 19, 2009

A Tour of Calgary's Blue Cart Recycling Sorting Facility

Calgarians are recycling more than ever before thanks to the blue cart residential collection and community recycling depots.

All of these recycled materials go to the southeast, 80,000 square foot, material recovery facility - or sorting plant, which is owned by METRO Waste Paper Recovery Inc..

I paid a visit to the plant today to see how our recyclables are sorted and processed.

The City has collected approximately 30,000 tonnes of recyclable materials since April 2009 when blue cart service began service at households with fewer than four units. That's 30,000 tonnes that have been diverted from a landfill. It is also when recycling depots were converted so no sorting was required. Recycling volumes to date are on track to double the level from the previous year and it is expected the recycling numbers will continue to climb. Almost all of the materials collected through the blue cart residential service and community recycling depots are going to market to be recycled into new products.

“Calgarians have embraced The City’s recycling program and generally they are doing a great job recycling,” says Paula Magdich, Program Development Leader with Waste & Recycling Services. "We encourage them to keep recycling smart."

This means putting only materials in the blue carts and community depots that the sorting plant can handle says Magdich.

Acceptable materials include paper and cardboard, plastic containers labelled 1-7, food and beverage cans, aluminum foil and glass jars and bottles. Other items may be recyclable but do not belong in the blue carts or depots.

Bill Stitt, Vice President of METRO Waste Paper Recovery Inc., which owns and operates the recycling sorting facility, says the plant was only designed to process those specific materials. “Items such as coat hangers, scrap metal and propane tanks can potentially damage the equipment or injure one of our workers,” says Stitt. “While most of the plant is automated, our employees still have to remove unacceptable items by hand.”

Some of the things that I saw at the plant during my brief tour were frying pans (lots of frying pans), a radiator, a broken power drill (that you can see a person retrieve from a conveyor belt in the video), dirty engine oil, hypodermic needles, saw blades and yes, even a kitchen sink (seriously - although it may have been a bathroom sink - either way there was a sink!). These items clog the machine and cause stoppages to the conveyor belts about six to 10 times an hour. These heavy, sharp and dirty materials can also be harmful to the workers.

Calgarians can visit to learn more about what materials are accepted in blue carts and community recycling depots as well as where they can drop off other items such as electronics, paint and household chemicals.

Magdich says that the blue cart residential collection and community recycling depots are part of The City's 80/20 by 2020 plan. The goal is to divert 80 per cent of Calgary's waste from landfills by the year 2020.

Watch this video to see a tour of Metro's material recovery facility (recycling sorting plant).

1 comment:

  1. Through recycling process we are able to utilize the waste materials and unused products and give them a good recognize shape. Most probably in different sectors we have found the process of recycling and most probably to protect environment we need the support of recycling products.