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I’d like to tell you about the first time I recycled an old soda can or turned that pop bottle into something useful, but I can’t.

It is nigh impossible to pinpoint the first time you discarded a piece of plastic in one of those blue containers.

Truth be told, I’ve never been great at ensuring all of my plastics and cardboards find themselves into those blue bags earmarked for the recycling stations. 

It might be more fitting to say that I am flat out terrible at separating the trash from the salvageable.

I’ve always been inclined to throw everything in a black trash bag and heave it to the curb rather than take the time to ensure the right items get to a blue bag

To put it mildly, I’ve been awful at helping to save the planet.

Milk cartons, plastic containers, bottles and cans are all items that I regularly make sure go to the landfill at Wild Cove instead of where they can be out to good use.

Most times I feel guilty about it and I try to do something about it, but then my lazy streak kicks in and everything finds itself in the same place.

It’s not a great thing to confess, but there it is.

I’m also guilty of littering, which can be seen as a step towards not recycling on the trash evolutionary chart.

For years, it was easy for me to fire an empty fast food bag out the window then find a trash receptacle to put it in.

But, times they are a changing, as Dylan once wrote. It is high time I make an effort to reduce the amount of garbage headed for the landfill.

The Western Regional Management team is about a week-and-a-half away from implementing its two-stream approach to its trash.

Scheduled for July 16, this system clearly identifies what is garbage and what isn’t.

Combing over the list provided on Corner Brook’s website, there are items that can be recycled which surprised me.

Take pizza boxes for example. I figured with the amount of grease that accumulates on the bottom of the box would remove it from the list of things can be sent to Scotia Recycling.

Shampoo bottles are similar in that they aren’t at the top of the list of things you can put in a blue bag and send away.

Having lived in Ontario where curbside recycling has been the norm for a number of years, Janet Oram is happy Corner Brook is making an effort to get people sorting their garbage and recycling more.

However, she doesn’t feel like Western Regional Management is giving its residents the proper tools to make the transition a smooth one.

Maybe if the group provided a mechanism that made it easier for people to sort their garbage. There is also the issue of having bags of garbage and recyclables being kept in the home.

“I believe some people are frustrated over the sorting and having bag laying around their homes,” said Oram.

She proposed the waste management group provide residents with a contraption similar to what one could use to sort laundry. It’s has three bins each dedicated to a different group of items

If the city had something like that, she feels they’d be more prepared for the upcoming switch.

“I’m not going to give up on recycling,” said Oram. “(Western Regional Management) is going to have to spend the money.”

Like Oram, I’m going to make an effort to sort my garbage and get better at recycling.

I live in a small apartment without much space. Having those bags lying around is sure to be a little claustrophobic, but that’s a necessary evil in this case.

I’m still going to try and do my part.

Fact box 1

To adhere to the recycling rules, residents are asked to organize their recyclables while adhering to the six groups designated by the city.

Recyclables are to be sorted in boxboard, cardboard, metal containers, mixed paper, paper containers and plastic containers. Items like coffee trays, egg cartons and food boxed should be included with boxboard, while corrugated boxes and packaging materials would fall in the cardboard category.

Aluminum cans, disposable foil containers and aluminum foil are a few of the items to fall in the metal container category. Meanwhile, books, computer paper, envelopes and exercise books with their coils removed are mixed paper items. The paper containers are items like juice and milk boxes.

Finally, cleaner bottles, medication bottles and plastic beverage containers are examples of what is included in the plastic container category.

Fact box 2

Frequently Asked Questions – Garbage & Recycling in Corner Brook

1. How often is garbage collected?

Garbage and recyclables are collected once a week. Check the waste collection schedule for collection days in your area.

2. How many bags are collected?

Residents are permitted four (4) bags per week. Residents who sometimes require more than the four-bag limit may purchase “bag tags” for a small charge. These stickers, when affixed to additional bags, will enable residents to dispose of excess garbage during the weekly curbside collection.

3. Do I have to cover my garbage with a garbage net?

All garbage is required to be covered by an appropriate garbage net or sheet to prevent birds from tearing it up.

4. What if I have a multi-unit home?

The City has a listing of residents who have multiple units and we have compiled a quick list for the drivers to refer to if there is an issue of residents having more than four bags without tags. If you have multiple units, you are permitted to have four bags per unit.

5. When and where do I put my garbage?

Garbage should be at the curbside no later than 8 a.m. on your garbage collection day. Place bags close to curbside but not on the sidewalk, roadway, or snowbanks.

6. What products can be recycled?

Effective July 2011, Corner Brook residents will be able to recycle boxboard through the weekly curbside recycling program. Boxboard products consist of cereal boxes, paper towel and toilet tissue rolls, along with boxes used to package processed foods, etc.

• Boxboard

• Newspaper

• Flyers

• Glossy magazines

• Telephone books

• Office paper (white paper, colored paper, enveloped with and without windows)

• Shredded paper

• Paperback books

• Hardback books (covers removed)

• Corrugated cartons (inner waffle layer)

• File folders

• Catalogues

• Egg cartons

7. What products cannot be recycled?

• Waxed corrugated cartons

• Covers from hardback books

• Metal fasteners

• Three-ring binders

• Plastic file folders or plastic binders

• Plastics (bags, etc.)

• Styrofoam

• Padded envelopes

• Used paper plates and cups

8. What about plastic beverage containers?

Other recyclables, such as beverage containers can be brought to Scotia Recycling. Other items accepted include glass bottles and aluminum cans.

9. What kind of bag do I use for recyclables?

A clear, transparent, blue bag. These can be purchased at most department and grocery stores. The contents will be easily identified and will help the collectors distinguish between garbage and recyclables.

11. Are recycle bags separated from regular garbage on the collection trucks?

Yes, the trucks are split. The front conveyor is for regular garbage and the rear conveyor, slightly behind the garbage conveyor, is for recycling. They use the same side entrance of the truck. The conveyor moves bags into two separate compartments in the rear of the truck to be easily dropped off to their destinations: Scotia Recycling or Wild Cove Landfill.

12. Do I have to put my corrugated cardboard in a blue bag?

No, you can break down the corrugated cardboard into 12″ x 12″ x 30″ and tie them together. Place the bundles beside your regular garbage and blue bags.

Source: City of Corner Brook

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