Next time you’re carrying a few double-doubles in those handy cup carriers, or bought a dozen eggs in a cardboard carton, know you’ve helped complete the cycle, in part thanks to the good work of eco-friendly residents and the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society.
Curbside collection of old office paper and newsprint supplies a quarter of the stock for CKF Inc. in Langley, which churns out the cardboard products. The cup holder trays are used by Tim Hortons.
“That is recycling – making it into something new again – close the loop,” Kim Day, executive-director of the society, said later.
Day provided an update of the society to Maple Ridge council Monday and later praised the local system, in which residents separate newspaper, cardboard, cans, plastic and office paper, using colour coded bags.
“They just really like ours [waste paper] because it’s very clean.”
The recycling society and CKF are now discussing pre-mixing of the paper, selecting the right combination of newsprint and office paper at the depot, to make it easier for CKF to process.
Andy Tailby, production manager at CKF, wishes all the waste paper from around the Lower Mainland was as clean as that provided by Maple Ridge.
Separating recyclables at curbside produces much cleaner waste than what comes from single source recycling, in which all recyclables are dumped into a single bag in the home, then sorted at the depot.
Even after it’s been sorted a recycling depot, the waste paper still needs sorting again at CKF.
“It was really good finding that Maple Ridge is doing such a good job over there,” Tailby said.
“Their’s comes in already sorted. When it comes in, you don’t need to make a big capital investment in sorting equipment.”
CKF makes about 20 million cupholder trays a year for Tim Hortons throughout Western Canada.
CKF is now working with Timmy’s on adding coffee cups to their source material. Tests have shown it works, providing the cups get there clean.
Day also believes getting residents to separate their recyclables at curbside works better than the single-source system used in some cities, where all recyclables are dumped into one blue bag or box then sorted at the recycling depot.
The argument for single source is that it’s easier for people to do that at home. But it’s also cheaper to collect at curbside, rather than separate them into specific bins in the collection trucks as happens in Maple Ridge.
“It [single source] is a huge challenge at the other end because that still has to be sorted out before it has any value.”
Day suggests visiting a recycling depot where recyclables are sorted by people standing along a conveyor belt, to see how contaminated the recyclables are that come from a single-source system.
Tailby agrees. “If you’ve ever seen that, it’s absolutely insane.”
Day also told council that 200 solar cones have been sold to residents, while 137 residents took advantage of the low-flow toilet rebate program, resulting in 6.5 tonnes of crushed ceramic to be put into landfill. Solar cones use heat energy from the sun to rapidly decompose kitchen waste.
Beginning July, small appliances are now recyclable and can be dropped off at the recycling depot, just off River Road in Albion Industrial Area.
Items, battery or plug-in, such as frying pans, coffee makers, hair dryers and electric toothbrushes can all be taken there.
Those items are added to the list that includes computers, TVs, scanners and monitors that can all be taken to the recycling depot where Product Care will divert them to companies for dismantling and recycling. That addition means the vast majority of personal electronics now end up getting recycled.
Homeowners also may notice less packaging in their recycling boxes in a few years. The provincial government wants manufacturers to start recycling the packaging materials in which they produce their goods.
Details remain to be worked out but it’s possible that current curbside collection of household recycles could dovetail with packaging recycling that will be done by industry.
Similar programs are already running in Manitoba and Ontario.
Also new in July, the recycling depot will take anti-freeze, in addition to the used motor oil and filters it now accepts.
Day said a proposal by Maple Ridge to expand the compost processing section at the transfers station so it could collect kitchen waste has been rejected by Metro Vancouver.
Her goal though continues to be the creation of an “eco-centre” where a compost plant, a recycling depot and a small transfer station are located, a goal that the District of Maple Ridge has had since 1990.
Maple Ridge along with Metro Vancouver is working towards removing 70 per cent of waste from the garbage stream by 2015.