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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Greening of a white Christmas

Recycling reminders for the holiday season

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Maybe it works. A quick cruise on the Net will call up all kinds of tips for recycling the clutter of Christmas wrapping paper we'll be wading through soon enough, if we aren't already.

But there's one that leaped off the screen. Instead of using paper towels or cloth, the crinkle stuff is great for cleaning windows and leaves a streak-free shine, says Louisa on her website, 'How can I recycle this?'

If it's good for windows, what else will it clean, I wonder. Don't try this with the shiny/plastic stuff, though.

This holiday season, Winnipeg's new garbage and recycling system will be put to the test and the city is rolling out notices to let us know what to do with all the stuff we don't want.

And a test it will be. In 2011, there was a 21 per cent increase in the week after Christmas compared to the first three weeks of December.

"We expect a similar increase which just means crews will be out a little longer on those days," said Mark Kinsley, a recycling technologist with the city.

When the city rolled out the automated collection system in October, its 311 line was inundated with complaints, on average of 300 calls a day.

The number has dropped, but the complaints are still coming in.

So here's our gift to the 311 staff -- a holiday-themed waste primer -- in the hopes of reducing the number of complaints to their office.

 

Golden rules

-- Wrapping paper is not recyclable. None of it.

Neither the automated collection system, nor the sorting system at Emterra's plant, can separate the recyclable kinds of wrapping -- such as tissue paper -- from the stuff that is trash. So the yardstick here is: If you rip it off a gift, throw it away.

-- If you have more garbage than will fit in your cart, you can call 311 to pick it up. There's a $5 fee for three standard garbage bags.

-- If you have more recycling that fits in your household bin, you'll have to haul the excess away yourself.

The city's set up recycling depots with blue bins at seven locations around town:

St. James Civic Centre, 2055 Ness Ave.

Pan Am Clinic, 25 Poseidon Bay, corner of Taylor Avenue.

City of Winnipeg Yard, 1539 Waverley St.

Southdale Centre, 67 Vermillion Rd., off Fermor Avenue.

Transcona, 840 Ravelston Ave. W. Access off Chrisland Street.

Garden City Shopping Centre, 2305 McPhillips Ave. Access off Kingsbury Avenue. The depot is adjacent to Kingsbury.

Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre, 430 Langside St. Access off Ellice Avenue South, down McMicken Street.

Reminders

Cut cardboard so it fits loosely in your recycling cart. The lid has to close -- whether it's your personal bin or the bins at the recycling depot.

Remember, there will be no collection on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. So if Tuesday is your collection day, your garbage will be picked up on Wednesday those two weeks.

Christmas tree recycling

The trees have to be as naked as they came. That means free of bags, decorations, tinsel, lights and stands. There are 11 tree drop-off depots, including a new one this year. The trees will be put through wood chippers from Dec. 27 through Jan. 31. Chips will remain at the sites and people are welcome to collect them while quantities last.

Safeway Charleswood Center, 3900 Grant Ave. Adjacent to and access from Haney Street. (Southwest parking lot). New this year.

Kildonan Park, 2015 Main Street. At the Rainbow Stage parking lot.

Fire Station 17, 1501 Church Ave.

St. James Civic Centre, 2055 Ness Ave.

Vimy Arena, 255 Hamilton Ave.

Winnipeg Soccer Complex, 900 Waverley St. (Northwest corner of the parking lot.)

St. Vital Park, 190 River Rod.

King's Park, 198 King's Dr. (In the back.)

Transcona, Chrisland Street and Ravelston Avenue

Kilcona Park, 1229 Springfield Rod. (Lagimodiere and McIvor parking lot.)

Whittier Park, 158 Rue Messager. (Vacant lot.)

Wrapping it all up

-- Here's how the city is doing since the automated collection system was introduced city-wide.

-- On average, 68 truckloads are processed daily at Winnipeg's recycling plant, located at 1029 Henry Ave. It is operated by Emterra Environmental, which has a contract to collect, sort and sell all Winnipeg recyclables.

-- Those truckloads add up to 216 metric tonnes of pop bottles, cardboard, newsprint and tin cans. Prior to this fall, 40 trucks, or an average of 190 metric tonnes, was processed. That's means we're recycling 15 per cent more of what we throw away.

-- Before the new system, Winnipeg diverted only 15 per cent of the city's trash, which paled in comparison to Toronto and Halifax, which recycles 60 per cent of their trash.

-- The city's northwest offers a glimpse of what the rest of the city can expect with the automated system. Those neighbourhoods were the first to test the new bins. The area recorded the highest level of recycling Winnipeg had ever seen: 47,000 metric tonnes in 2010. The level of waste to the landfill dropped 11,000 metric tonnes, compared to the previous year.

-- While we may recycle less tonnage than other cities, Winnipeg wracks up a pretty impressive recycling bottom line: 96 per cent of what we recycle is turned into other products.

Final thoughts

What's up with the plastic bags?

Winnipeg can't recycle them. Recyclables only get recycled if there's a buyer. There are no buyers for the flimsy plastic bags, which is why cities are on a mission to ban them. The filmy material also clogs up sorting machines. Remember the four per cent of recycled material that ends up in the landfill? Plastic bags make up a big chunk of that.

For more information, call 311 or click on www.winnipeg.ca . You can download the My Waste app at that link, too.

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2012 ??65520

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