Monday, September 14, 2009

In Nova Scotia, they'll even steal your recycling!

Monday is trash/recycling day here. HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) has a pretty aggressive recycling program. We get "green carts" for curbside composting, trash pickup, and weekly recycling pickup. They've got recycling bins everywhere -- all the parks and city streets have the tripartite bins for trash, compost/organics, and containers.

It takes a fair bit of sorting. The cans, bottles, milk cartons and plastics (#1 and #2 only) go into clear blue bags. Paper goes in a separate bag, and corrugated cardboard gets bundled and tied with string.

As you would expect in any city, there are street people in town who go through the trash bins and take out the redeemables. It's not just soda and beer cans and bottles here -- most bottles and beverage cans have redeemable deposits. It's inconvenient to return them though -- you can't just take them back to stores. You have to take them to a recycling depot.

So, the first week we were here, on Sunday night, I put my recycling at the curb, and this guy comes by on a bicycle, pulling a shopping cart. He goes through my blue bag, takes out anything that looks redeemable, ties the bag up neatly, and goes on his way. OK, I think, he's being enterprising and trying to make a little money. A little weird that he's going through my trash, but OK.

Last night, two guys in a white van come zipping down the street, jump out of the van, grab both my blue bags and toss 'em into their van, then speed away. I thought about this for a while, and decided I don't like it, for the following reasons:

1) their van was newer and a lot nicer than my car, so dire economic necessity was not an authentic motive.
2) they took the bags and everything in them. Bags I paid for. What are they going to do with all the non-redeemable stuff in those bags?
3) yeah, I could go to the trouble of redeeming my own containers (and in the future, I will!), but the HRM benefits when I don't, and I'm OK with that because they've got a pretty darn good recycling program here.
4) I put a fair amount of work and time into sorting my recycling. The recycling bandits did not. That's not kosher.

So now I've got to put my recycling out on Monday morning, before work. And I've got to create a separate sorting area for the redeemables.

This place is weird.

1 comment:

  1. Not at all uncommon in CA! We recycle... fancy sorting system, plastics #1-6, the only thing that they haven't figured yet are cardboard boxes when the pizza gets oil on it.

    But recycling theft is a problem, as garbage and recycling pickup is in a way subsidized by the redemption value. The guys on bikes are hard to catch, but I write down license plates before I call the cops when they are climbing in our dumpsters.