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Saskatoon rate of recycling low despite education program

Watch above: There is room for improvement with Saskatoon’s curbside recycling program with about 4 per cent of material placed in blue bins considered a contaminant. As Wendy Winiewski reports, Loraas Recycle is hoping more education will help reduce contamination.

SASKATOON – When it comes to City of Saskatoon’s curbside recycling program, there’s room for improvement. About four per cent of material placed in blue bins is considered a contaminant and Saskatoon company Loraas Recycle is hoping more education will help and has stepped up to see that it happens.

Tossing waste in the garbage is second nature for most and changing that mindset is a process.

“Everything they touch, every paper and packaging, they have a decision to make and now we’re trying to help build some enthusiasm to have them choose a blue cart,” said Brenda Wallace, the city’s environmental manager.

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The city spends $200,000 per year in advertising and education in an attempt to increase the rate of material yet our rates remain low. At last report, 12,622 tonnes is recycled annually. The goal is 16,000.

READ MORE: City of Saskatoon’s multi-unit recycling program underway

Loraas has stepped in with an education room for kids. Ryan Buhay is in charge of it and has educated about 1,000 students since the lessons began in October.

“It’s important to engage younger generations in these positive behaviours at a young age so they can continue on years to come and really make a difference in the environment and preserve landfill space,” said Buhay, who is Loraas’ education coordinator.

Monday’s Grade 7 class from Holy Family School are a voice of reason in their own households.

“If my dad’s going to throw out something that’s plastic I say, ‘wait, did you check if that’s recyclable’,” said student Colin Dyck.

The cost of the program is covered by taxpayer’s monthly bills with about 35 cents going to education.

The goal is to minimize contaminants and maximize recyclables in a more environmentally-friendly Saskatoon.

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