MTM: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

That's right, twenty years! The city has provided curbside pickup of our recyclables for 20 years here in Edmonton. They have many collection sites scattered around the city at malls and community centres, for those that live in apartments, where the complex may not provide a recycle bin. I am proud to say I browbeat talked our manager into getting them put in here ;)

I know, you are all thinking "that's nice, weird, a little boring, but whatever". Well, actually it is a little boring, until you read that Edmonton has the most modern facility in all of North America, here is a pdf photo file of the site. We are turning garbage into fuel, we are capturing the gas from the landfills and turning it into energy to power part of the city. There is an area for recycling old electronics and reducing them to their component parts to be sold and reused in new stuff. We have eco stations throughout the city where you can take hazardous waste to have it recycled and rendered harmless. The city encourages composting and grasscycling, by providing compost bins and courses to homeowners. What does this mean? Well it means that we manage to diverte 60% of our waste from reaching the landfills.

Photo courtsey of City of Edmonton

We also have opened our first Reuse Centre this year, it takes an incredible list of things that are still usable and sells them to someone who will use them for a very nominal fee. You know you have the little bits hanging around from your last project...there is not enough to do another project, but, you hate to see the wool, wood, paper, or whatever go to waste. Well, that is what the resuse centre is for. They will even take paper towel rolls, the last couple of inches of sequins, the extra spool of thread that you find you didn't need. While you are dropping off, you can look for that elusive button to match your coat, or find the exact right sized frame for your picture. Some scraps of fabric to finish the project that has been languishing in your closet for lack of 1/2 yard. Or enough leather to make a project look like a million bucks.

Having been brought up by parents that lived through the "dirty thirties", I know a thing or two about hanging onto stuff because you never know when it might come in handy. That would be why I had moms mascara to use in my WWC post last week. That stuff is probably older than I am for goodness sake! Of course, having been forced to downsize my abode, I had to get rid of a bunch of stuff and the reuse centre would have been very handy then. I did my best to recycle or give away most of it.

So, how about you all. Does your town, county, city have a recycle program? Do you use it, or are you making noise to have them start one?

My Town Mondays are the idea of Travis Erwin and you can visit his blog to read about other places around the globe.

Have a good day all.


Anonymous said...

Happy 20th, Edmonton! I *heart* recycling. I've been known to take recycling home from other places (including someone else's house) just to recycle, so I understand your convincing process to get recycling bins at your apartment complex.
The Edmonton's 3-R's is definitely worthy of an MTM post. :)

Crabby McSlacker said...

Our town is pretty good about the recycling, though the waste management guys still make a sport of seeing how big a mess they can make with the empty garbage cans and recylcing containers after pickup each week.

Leah J. Utas said...

Exciting about the reuse centre. That's one hell of a good idea.
We have some here at the waste management site in town. Good place to drop off egg cartons, We occasionally get books there.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Supposedly we recycle everything almost now, just throw it all into one huge recycling bin which they pick up. I am skeptical though. I felt better when we separated the stuff out ourselves.

Mary said...

Congrats to Edmonton for 20 years of recycling and finding a use for the recycled product!

We do recycle here, but I'm going to have to investigate where it goes.

the Bag Lady said...

Great post, Reb! Congratulations to Edmonton for being on the cutting edge of the recycling movement.

Love the idea of the Reuse Centre. That's kinda what our local landfill site is to me, occasionally! Can't stand to see perfectly good furniture go to waste, as anyone who read my blog this past summer realizes!
That china cabinet that I found is now proudly in my kitchen, displaying some rather mundane-looking old dishes.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Wow. Reb,

I am impressed.

Here in NYC we have been recycling for about twenty years but no "reuse center" which I think is a great idea.


Travis Erwin said...

Recycling has always been a dirty word on the same par as liberal, Yankee, and environmentalist in my area. Luckily opinions are beginning to change.

Clare2e said...

We do recycle here (though not all plastic types). My SIL's town in PA takes absolutely everything. I love the REUSE Center. What a neat idea, and what fun it must be to browse all those little scraps and shreds! Congrats, Edmonton!

Karen L. Alaniz said...

That is fabulous. I'm sorry to say that my town has been slow to start the curbside recycling. We've had it for maybe five years now. And recently they had to stop taking glass. Boo. But we do have a place to take those things.

debra said...

There is a county-wide recycling center in the next county, that they call a central processing center. All garbage is gone through, and cans and plastics removed. Cardboard and paper, if bagged separately is also recycled. Glass needs to be taken to "igloos."

bunnygirl said...

Houston is terrible at recycling and worse since the hurricane. My neighborhood was one of the few with curbside recycling pickup and nearly all of us used it. But since the 'cane, the city has needed the trucks to haul away storm debris, so no more recycling. They can't even tell us when it will start up again. :-(

Missicat said...

Very impressive! There are supposedly laws in this area that offices have to recycle (I think) but not sure if they are ever enforced. I try to do my best when I can!

Reb said...

Thanks Kcinnova and good for you!

Crabby, I think that is part of their job description ;)

Leah, I haven't been there yet, but I agree it is a wonderful idea!

Patti, I sometimes wonder about that too. As long as no-one throws regular garbage in there, they do the separating.

Mary, thanks. You should investigate I was quite surprised by all my city is doing.

Sis, thanks. I wasn't aware of all they were doing until I started this. The reuse centre is a great idea though and I can't wait to go and have a look see and get rid of some things.

Reb said...

Terrie, thanks. I figured NYC would be up on the 3R's.

Travis, I am glad to hear opinions are beginning to change.

Thanks Clare, I think the reuse centre is a great idea too. Your recycle centre will eventually catch up and start taking everything.

Karen, welcome! They may have only been doing it for five years, but they are doing it which is great! It will evolve amazingly quickly.

Debra, that is a start!

BG, that is too bad. Hope it will start up again soon, maybe bigger and better!

Missicat, good for you. I would look at it as a first step, once people are accustomed to it at work, they will start to do it at home and maybe then it will become a way of life there too.

Jay said...

We have a local company that you can take all of your recyclable stuff to and they will buy it from you.

But, when they tried to add recycling to the regular trash pickup, it got voted down by the city council because they were trying protect the local recycling company's business.

David Cranmer said...

I just came from Barbara Martin's blog and between the two of you I'm destined to make a journey to Canada.

Barrie said...

Wow. Incredible. We have recycling, but nothing even close to what you guys are doing!

Reb said...

Jay, at least there is a place that will take your recyclables. Eventually the city and the company will make some kind of arrangement.

David, it is a beautiful country with lots to see and do. It might mean more than one trip.

Reb said...

Thanks Barrie. Every little bit helps. I like to think that so far we are all in the beginning stages and that eventually, while we may not have replicators, we will be using far less of the worlds resources.

Lindy said...

great idea and great post

Reb said...

Thanks Lindy and welcome!

Hilary said...

Recycling centers - yup we do, 2 of them in fact and a third one is due to open in 2010. They supplement the curbside pickups and include the reusable items too. Good stuff all around. Great post, Reb!

Reb said...

Thanks Hilary, they are a good thing aren't they?

info said...

Great job Edmonton!.

Talking od recycling, the Electronic Recycling Association is on the lookout for volunteers.

Volunteers wanted . Fixing computers for charities. The Era is looking for
volunteers to help fix computers and electronic for donation to charity. ERA
collects computers, laptops, monitors, lcds, servers and electronics for
donation and recycling. Volunteers can earn a free computer for spending
time at ERA and helping out. Volunteers can earn a free laptop for spending
time at ERA and helping.