Curbside Recycling Questions

[ad#125-right]The City of Castlegar has recently commenced curbside recycling, (solid waste removal is actually a function of the Regional District of Central Kootenay, so actually it is their program). This long awaited for program has the added benefit of including more materials in the pick up than were previously able to be recycled at the depot. This bi-weekly service should result in improved recycling rates in Castlegar. As far as I know, the depot system is being retained as well, although I’m not sure why.

Here are some questions regarding the sustainability of this service…

  • Should the recycling service have both depot and curbside components?
  • Is bi-weekly recycling pickup adequate?
  • Is the depot there only for people too disorganized to put their recycling out on a schedule? Or are there other users who don’t have the option of curbside, (ie small businesses and residents from outside the municipality).
  • What cost is there for the additional service and could the total cost be reduced by reducing the depot service?
  • What portion of the cost is related to the cost of fuel?
  • Where are the materials sent for processing and how are they transported?
  • What is the carbon offset, if any, of recycling in Castlegar?

These concerns and questions are not unique to Castlegar, but should be asked critically of any areas providing this service to residents, and as the cost of fuel increases, cities should ensure that the value gained from providing the service is economically and environmentally viable.

After years of education, it seems that the mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle has been condensed down to recycle as though it is the easiest to acheive. If fact, it is the most costly and inefficient point in the consumer cycle to be attempting to maximise benefits of material savings.


What recycling stories do you have?

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Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.

One reply on “Curbside Recycling Questions”

  1. Encouraging the recycling of materials that presently cost a lot to transport and process, (both financially and environmentally) just doesn’t make sense. People who actually care about this stuff want governments to make decisions that are the best not just the best looking!

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