3. Replicate the Blue Box program

3. Replicate the Blue Box program

To minimize confusion, it is best to replicate the Blue Box recycling program provided locally to residents. Communities with 2 stream recycling programs must decide whether to provide container and fibre recycling bins in public space locations. Mirroring the residential recycling program helps to minimize confusion and reduce cross-contamination. It is a good rule of thumb to provide maximum recycling opportunities at most public space locations, whenever possible.

Some public space locations (e.g. walking trails, sports fields) where users generate mostly recyclable containers (pop cans, water bottles, juice bottles) and very little fibre/paper, may offer only a container recycling option. Other locations, such as public transportation hubs where people enter/exit public transit, food courts and streets/sidewalks will tend to generate both types of recyclables, containers and should have two stream recycling available.

It is recommended to conduct an evaluation of the additional costs to add the fibre stream (e.g. the cost of a tri-sorter or multi-sorter) versus the added costs of higher fiber contamination in the container stream. In the end, it may be cheaper to invest in the tri-sorter or multi-sorter.

Shared Experience

666 .13 2014 – City of St. Thomas – Public Space Recycling

st-thomas-psrIn 2011, the City of St. Thomas replaced the garbage bins in its downtown business area with a twin bin system. Despite its two stream curbside Blue Box program, a two bin system for garbage and container recycling was chosen. While City staff proposed purchasing a tri-sorter to enable users to recycle fibres as well, the final decision to purchase the two bin system was made after consultation with the City of St Thomas Downtown
Development Board. Waste audits conducted on the two sort bin system revealed that almost 60% of cross contamination in the recycling bin consisted of recyclable fibres that would normally be permitted in the Blue Box fibre stream. Despite the fibre contamination, staff viewed the program as a success, “Since one of the primary objectives of public space programming is to connect with residents and promote the recycling program, City staff are pleased to see a connection between at home recycling behaviours and the downtown component of the public space program.”

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