Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blue cart and Christmas tree pick-up celebrate their first holiday season

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!” - The Grinch

The spirit of Christmas might not come from a store, but the holiday itself comes with a lot of packaging. Calgary’s neighbourhood recycling depots generally see a 35 per cent increase in the amount of recycled materials during the holiday season. With Blue Cart recycling and Christmas tree household pick-up in their inaugural year, Christmas 2009 will bring some firsts for The City’s Waste & Recycling Services.

Calgarians wondering what to do with post-holiday waste are asked to continue to be aware of what items can and cannot be put into blue carts and community recycling depots.

“Inappropriate materials can cause harm to equipment and employees at the sorting facility,” explained Philippa Wagner, Waste Diversion Specialist for The City’s Waste & Recycling Services. “It’s important to remember that these materials are also handled by people.”

Food containers that are not properly cleaned can harbour moulds, which can be hazardous to the health of workers sorting recycled materials.

Materials that are not accepted include foil-based wrapping paper, tissue paper, tinsel, ribbons and bows, household chemicals, scrap metals, and electronics.

“For those items that are recyclable but are not accepted in blue carts, there are still opportunities for Calgarians to recycle,” said Wagner, referring to the 33 electronics recycling depots that accept televisions, computers and computer accessories. “Calgary also has a thriving scrap metal industry which can be searched in the Yellow Pages.”

With the increased volume anticipated for blue carts, The City is offering some advice for Calgarians to deal with post-holiday waste.

Cardboard gift boxes should be broken down and non-foil-based wrapping paper should be crumpled into a ball to fit easily into blue carts. Overflow materials can be stored and put out for the next pick-up or taken to one of The City’s 52 community recycling depots, which will remain open throughout the holidays.

“It’s all part of The City’s plan to reduce the amount of waste ending up in our landfills.”

Calgarians are encouraged to visit for the holiday collection schedule, electronics recycling depot locations and information about the new Christmas tree recycling pick-up program.

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