Writer's Workshop: Learning Recyclables

Thursday, September 4, 2014
3.) Talk about one thing you learned last month.

Typical garbage day

I did not learn this new habit recently, but I do have a deeper understanding of it since becoming a homeowner myself last month. The pressure of learning is certainly on.
As opposed to the one big, gigantic green bin allotted to each property owner that we got accustomed to in South Africa, here in Canada, it’s almost some kind of street celebration when it’s garbage day on your neighbourhood block. The multi-coloured bins line up the street curbs like they were Christmas lights on a pine tree.
The green bins in South Africa were not too choosy and held every kind of waste imaginable. Be it organic, plastic, garbage, recyclable anything, non-recyclable junk, etc., whatever it can carry, as long as the weight is manageable and you can still wheel the bin out to the street, it’s all good.
Shortly after landing here in Canada, we learnt that this bad habit of ours, mixing everything up with no care in the world, was about to go. We were warned that our discarded items would not be collected if we erred on putting the correct garbage in the right bin. And since I do hate unfinished business with a vengeance (and I count uncollected trash as one of them), I decided to brush up on our city’s waste management programs.
Here’s a crash course of what I’ve learnt:
The green bins held the organics, the blue the recycling papers and container items, and the black box was for everything else that were not allowed to be inside the green or blue bins. On occasion, like every 2 weeks or so, there’s a collection for compost which goes into a brown bag. You are only allowed 2 black bags every week unless you can buy tags for additional ones. There are some weeks (very rare) that you can have endless black bags. I have no idea why...yet. You are allowed endless blue bins unless you ran out of blue bins, in which case you’d have to start putting your recyclables in a blue (or white), clear, plastic bag. The green bins here are mini versions of the ones in South Africa. You can throw out appliances and they are either collected or taken by other people. If you are not particular, you can drive around on garbage day. It’s almost like going through a thrift store. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t.
Now that I got that all off my chest, the whole thing felt like a brief rap of information. It overwhelms me at the moment, all these do’s and don’ts, and heaven forbid I eventually put something out that is in the wrong bin, but I am happier to be learning to help the environment in some sort of way.
For the Peel Region’s waste management programs, see here.
Mama’s Losin’ It

4 caring thoughts:

  1. Carol said...:

    My youngest daughter and husband started a recycling business, but didn't survive because the city mandated it. But, I learned a lot from them when they were doing it. The more we can recycle, the less we trash our world. It's amazing how much garbage we live in and on!

    Everyone should read your post. Great information!

  1. B Nickerson said...:

    Wow, go Canada. Here in Florida we have regular trash in one big giant bin the garbage truck robot arms can grab & dump (& that's supposed anything except what can be recycled) and a small square bin for recyclables like paper, glass, plastic, etc. Then a once weekly yard trash pick-up that can be in any kind of bag (because they empty the bags into the truck.) However, it's not mandatory. Lots of people don't bother with the separate recycles crate---despite the fact there's a fee they pay for the service in their monthly bill. Nor does every state in the US have a recycle curbside pick-up, though most have places you can take recycleables to and sort yourself.
    There's no penalities in Florida for what you put in the trash.

  1. Miriam Gomberg said...:

    We got these totally cool recycling bins that you can put paper, plastic, glass or aluminum in. I am so easily amused. Now if I could just get my husband to use it on a regular basis I wouldn't have to fish stuff out of the trash compactor. Yuck!

  1. Mama Kat said...:

    We've actually gotten phone calls from waste management when our items were allocated to the wrong bins. They don't mess around!