On its current pace, the amount of material recycled in the city will have nearly doubled in the one year since blue carts found their way to Calgary curbsides.
According to Paula Magdich of the city’s waste and recycling services, 56,000 tonnes of recycled material went to market by the end of 2009 — but the blue-bin program wasn’t fully in place until the end of July. By comparison, 2008 saw about 40,000 tonnes collected — with only community depot recycling in service.
Initially, that’s a 40 per cent increase — but with the program in place over a full year, Magdich expects the near 6,000-tonne average monthly collection from both blue carts and community depots to continue. This will bring the full-year total near the initial recycling goal of 80,000 tonnes.
“Blue-cart recycling is going really well. Calgarians are recycling more than ever,” said Magdich.
She pointed to the overall convenience of the pickup and the acceptance of a vast array of recyclable material as the drivers behind the program’s success.
Natalie Odd, executive director of Green Calgary, formerly the Clean Calgary Association, said Calgarians’ willingness to participate in the blue-bin program is the major contributor to its initial success.
“Basically, (the city) has confirmed the fact that if you make it more convenient for people, they will recycle more,” said Odd.
Neither Magdich nor Odd have heard many major concerns about the program from Calgarians, aside from the monthly charge and some confusion over accepted recyclables.