When recycling ends up in the trash, a challenge in the Acadian Peninsula
Employees at the Tracadie sorting center must be alert to remove contaminants.
In the Acadian Peninsula, almost half of the waste sent for recycling ends up in the trash instead, because it is contaminated. This could be avoided if citizens sort waste better, according to an official.
The Tracadie sorting center processes a little more than 2,000 tonnes of materials annually from the collection of blue bins in the region, explains Gary Leblanc, director of solid waste management services at the Acadian Peninsula Regional Services Commission ( CSRPA).
The trouble, he points out, is that there is a large amount of contaminated material that should rather end up in regular trash cans.
The Tracadie sorting center processes more than 2000 tons of recyclable materials per year, but they have to throw some half due to contamination.
Contamination of recyclable materials occurs, for example, when other materials such as food end up in the blue bins.< /p>
Statistics of the contamination rate of recyclable materials since 2018 in the Acadian Peninsula.
According to Gary Leblanc, the increase in the rejection rate can be explained by the interruption of service for one month in 2019 to improve the sorting line in Tracadie or for three months in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. .
After these temporary shutdowns, a slack was observed in the quality of the contents of the recycling bin, he notes.
Road signs show a message encouraging recycling in the Acadian Peninsula.
The trend continued in 2021 and it prompted the CSRPA to launch an awareness and education campaign, a first since 2017.
This campaign Be chic! Sort your trash! is spread throughout the region and focuses on citizen awareness.
Gary Leblanc, director of solid waste management services at the Acadian Peninsula Regional Services Commission.
“It's not negligence and ignorance. It is believed to be a decrease in civic responsibility. Recyclable materials have always been contaminated to some degree. It is the level of contamination that has increased. »
— Gary Leblanc, Director of Solid Waste Services at CSRPA
Is this voluntary? I don't think anyone necessarily plans it, says Gary Leblanc, director of solid waste management services at CSRPA.
The spokesperson adds that the efforts made by sorters at the Tracadie center have increased considerably due to the amount of contaminants found through recyclable materials. It's a waste of time and a waste of money, he says.
Blue bins first appeared in the Acadian Peninsula in 2014.
If 100% of the sorting effort was put into putting the right products in the right place, it would be fine . But before being able to get there, you have to remove the contaminants. There is therefore a great effort on the part of the sorters to remove the contaminants as soon as they receive the emptying truck, he says.
These workers must in particular deal with contaminants organic materials that pollute the full load of a truck, which means that the material is only good for garbage cans, continues Gary Leblanc.
With information by Mario Mercier