PUSLINCH – Puslinch residents are catching on to recycling in a big way.
Results of a pilot program with recycling bins in public places indicate an 80 per cent recovery rate for beverage containers which is high, and a 30% contamination rate, which is low.
Taken together, it’s been a successful pilot state officials even though it was interrupted because of COVID-19 lockdowns and changes in park usage once restrictions were lifted.
“That’s probably a credit to the people who use the bins, good promotion and support by staff,” said Ken Friesen, president of Reclay StewardEdge (RSE), who presented the results to council on Jan. 10.
The recycling project was an initiative of BlueTriton Brands Canada, which has a water bottling facility in Puslinch and which offers this program in other centres across the country.
Bins cost $47,000
For the Puslinch project, BlueTriton funded the purchase of bins, at a cost of $47,000, and contracted RSE to initiate the pilot and report its findings.
Dual-stream bins were placed at the Badenoch Soccer Field, Morriston Meadows Park and the Puslinch Community Centre in 2018 and a waste audit took place from Aug. 27 to 31, 2022.
The top contaminant in the recycling stream was polycoat cups – coffee cups – which are not recyclable because of the coating. Coffee cup lids, however, are generally recyclable.
Councillor John Sepulis asked why coffee cups can’t be recycled.
“With recycling, it comes down to what is practical and what is the cost,” Friesen said.
“There needs to be a market for the end material. There will be an answer for coffee cups, just not yet.”
Councillor Jessica Goyda wondered if stickers could be placed on the bins to indicate which side – recycling or general waste – coffee cups should go to help improve the diversion rate.
Answer: general waste.
Mayor James Seeley noted changes are coming with waste and soon producers will be responsible for the waste they generate.
“I see cups on the 401 all the time,” he said. “It will be better to make the producer responsible for their recycling and litter.”
The bins are to stay in Puslinch and township staff will continue to collect the garbage now that the pilot is complete.
Council voted to send a letter of thanks to BlueTriton and consult with them on the future replacement of the bins, and on additional signage to help people understand what is recyclable and what is garbage.
BlueTriton Brands senior natural resource manager Dr. Andreanne Simard stated in an email Blue Triton is a leader in recycling projects and technologies, including making all its bottles 100% recyclable.
“Our program to promote beverage container recycling in parks and other public spaces is one more way we can help to ensure recycling of all beverage containers,” she said.
The project in Puslinch, including infrastructure and the consultant, cost the company approximately $50,000.
“Our company has invested millions into programs to increase the recovery rate of recycled materials for reuse in the beverage system,” Simard continued.
“But recycling is a collective effort. Material can only be recycled if it is collected and put back into the recycling system.
“This project demonstrates there are ways to help communities increase our collective recycling efforts.
“We are happy with the results and the community’s commitment to recycling and look forward to the ongoing use of the dual-purpose recycling bins in our parks and public spaces.”