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These garbage instructions were just that

September 1, 2014

A building’s notice over their blue bins and my response.

Earlier this week, up near Heather Street and 16th Avenue, I saw that an apartment building’s management had stuck an information sheet above their set of four recycling blue bins.

I read it — first with interest and then, after a moment’s confusion, with growing dismay.

It was principally a list of banned items. It was long and included many things that weren’t allowed in the recycling blue bin but it also included all the things that were allowed, such as cardboard, newsprint, paper and “blue box recyclables”.

It was a list of items that were all banned from going into garbage dumpsters. It had nothing to do with the recycling blue bins.

Except that the building manager had tacked the list above the blue bins — around the corner and well away from the building’s dumpster.

The wonder of recycling in B.C. is it works as well as it does

If some tenant actually decided to pay attention for a change to one of their building’s garbage notices they would have been confused. If they followed the list they would have thrown all their recyclables in the garbage dumpster.

Enough tenants do this as it is; there’s no need to encourage them.

Not willing to leave well enough alone, I ransacked the building’s dumpster and came up with blank paper, a whole slew of felt-tip markers and a full glue stick.

My note was to the point:

“This materials warning applies to the Dumpster! Recyclables & cardboard do go in the blue bins!”

I used the glue stick to fix my note under the list of banned items. It wasn’t aimed at the tenants so much as the building manager. I hope he appreciated my thoughtfulness — the silly so-and-so!

How can anyone expect tenants to understand the blue bin/box system if their building management doesn’t? I realize the curbside/apartment recycling system has only been in place for 18 short years  but building managers need to keep up on these new fangled ideas.

Items banned from Metro Vancouver dumpsters

  1. Corrugated cardboarddot-blue-24x14
  2. Newsprintdot-blue-24x14
  3. Office paperdot-blue-24x14
  4. Gypsum drywalldot-yellow-24x14
  5. Ceiling tiles & insulationdot-yellow-24x14
  6. Asbestosdot-yellow-24x14
  7. Yard trimmings, Green waste & soddot-yellow-24x14
  8. Electronic waste including personal computers, Printers & TVsdot-blue-24x14
  9. Appliances and anything containing Freondot-red-24x14
  10. Mattresses & Box springsdot-yellow-24x14
  11. Propane tanksdot-yellow-24x14
  12. Tiresdot-yellow-24x14
  13. Oil, Oil filters & empty containersdot-yellow-24x14
  14. Medications and Pharmaceuticalsdot-red-24x14
  15. Blue box recyclables (plastic containers, Metal food containers & glass containers)dot-blue-24x14
  16. Milk containers (including Soy & Rice)dot-blue-24x14
  17. Paints, Solvents & Flammable liquids, Gasoline, Pesticides & other Household hazardous wastedot-red-24x14
  18. Odorous & Dusty loadsdot-red-24x14
  19. Rechargeable batteriesdot-yellow-24x14
  20. Lead acid (car) batteriesdot-yellow-24x14
  21. Compact fluorescent bulbsdot-green-24x14
  22. Fluorescent tubesdot-green-24x14

dot-blue-24x14 Recycling blue bins, dot-yellow-24x14 City Landfill, dot-green-24x14Encorp Depot, 🌑 Other.

Appliances containing freon, such as fridges, may be covered by BC Hydro’s fridge buy-back program.

Medications and prescription drugs can  be returned to any pharmacy.

Some Encorp depots accept labeled paint, flammables and pesticides and CF bulbs and fluorescent  tubes on behalf of the Product Care program.

Odorous and dusty loads fall under the category of “nuisance waste” which includes styrofoam, balloon animals and anything that attracts pests. These go to the landfill but are accepted on a case-by-case basis. The Bury Materials at the Landfill page explains.

The City of Vancouver’s Is it Really Garbage? page is a good one-stop list of what the city accepts and where to take what the city doesn’t accept.

Otherwise you can call or email the Recycling Council of British Columbia’s Recycling Hotline. Click the image to enlarge it.

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