Manager of Waste Services,
Municipal District of Bonnyville
Plastics are one of the hardest household recyclables to manage properly, not only because there are so many different types of plastic materials, but also because there is so much information to navigate.
Let’s start with the triangle logo on the bottom of plastics. This is not the recycling logo. It is the logo which designates the type of plastic that makes up the largest percentage of the material’s construction. It is very deceiving. Just because it has this triangle logo doesn’t mean it is going to be recycled. In fact, Recycle BC which leads the country in waste diversion and recycling programs, still only recycles 46% of all household plastics collected. Of these plastics, only 56% of rigid plastics are being recycled and only 22% of flexible packaging (bags, wraps, clamshells, etc.) are being recycled.Canada’s provincial recycling leader is still struggling with getting their household plastics recycled.
So now you’re asking how does this relate to the M.D. of Bonnyville right? Well, the plastics collection process for the M.D. is this:
- Residents do their own sorting of materials and drop off into 6-yard bins at our transfer stations and bin sites
- Then the garbage truck comes along on plastic recycling day, every three weeks or so, and empties the bins into the truck
- Once the collection is complete the garbage truck then takes that load of plastic to the City of Cold Lake landfill site where it is baled at their recycling centre and sent off to be recycled.
The M.D.'s goal is to only collect and transfer items that are most likely to be recycled, because as we know, recycling is a commodity, and if plastics producers don’t want to buy the material then it ends up being landfilled down the road.
Recyclers can only hang onto materials for so long before they start to break down themselves or they run out of storage space. I’ve seen with my own eyes, very recently, semi-trailer loads of plastics from a recycling company in Edmonton being dumped in a landfill in Northern Alberta.
The M.D. has followed the lead of other large municipalities in the province such as Strathcona County and the City of Fort Saskatchewan to ask residents to recycle only
hard rigid plastics. A few benefits of this are:
- The plastics we collect have a better chance of being recycled
- Residents don’t waste time sorting and rinsing plastics that are unlikely to be recycled
- Our transfer stations and bin sites will have less plastic littering the fences and bushes around the sites if the flexible packaging and plastic film products are disposed of in the bagged waste bins.
Have questions? Call 780-826-3951 or email
for more information on the M.D.'s waste and recycling programs.
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