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Councillor pitches reuse plan for blue boxes

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A local councillor is asking the city to put a different ‘R’ to use when blue boxes are phased out later this year.


Last week, the Assiniboia Community Committee passed a motion directing city administration to study the possibility of donating the city’s blue boxes to Winnipeg Harvest following a switch to recycling carts slated to begin next month.


The boxes would be reused for Winnipeg Harvest’s Kids Blue Box Gardening program, said Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo), who introduced the motion.


"If it’s something that somebody needs anyways, why wouldn’t we direct it there?" she said.


"If you think the average household has three or four cans, and two or three blue boxes, that’s a lot of containers to go into recycling.


"If they’re in good condition, why not build gardens, or teach kids how to garden in them?"


Starting in June, the city will begin replacing garbage cans and blue boxes with automated garbage and recycling carts.


Following the rollout, expected to be complete by October, the city will be offering a one-time collection of old blue boxes for those who no longer have a use for them.


The concept for the Kids Blue Box Gardening program came up about six or seven years ago, Harvest executive director David Northcott said.


Modeled after a similar program at IRCOM, an immigrant support organization, the program gives youth and Harvest clients the tools to grow their own herbs and vegetables at home.


"They’re learning about food and the circle of food. It gives them a sense that ‘I can grow my own food, this is a good thing to do and how can I learn more about it?’" Northcott said.


"We’re delighted the councillor is willing to support us."


The program also operates in some schools, Northcott said, adding about 50 to 100 gardens are given out each year.


The new carts will be delivered first to residents in the city’s northwest who already have garbage carts.


Recycling and garbage carts will be delivered to areas with autobins from the end of June to mid-July, with carts then being delivered to remaining areas of the city working clockwise, starting in North Kildonan, according to the city. Charleswood will be the last area to receive the carts.


The garbage carts hold about three standard-sized garbage bags. The recycling carts hold about four blue boxes.

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Twitter: @metroWPG

matt.preprost@canstarnews.com

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