Many people will be starting off the new year with a post-Christmas cleanup now that 2017 is in the rearview mirror.
This past holiday season was the first since the City of Calgary rolled out the green carts as part of the composting program and Calgarians might be a little confused with how to use the new bin to dispose of their festive refuse.
Philippa Wagner, a program management leader with the city's waste and recycling services, told the Calgary Eyeopener exactly what Calgarians can recycle, what holiday scraps they can compost and what they should toss in the trash.
Food waste and leftovers
Wagner said some people are still getting used to the fact that any and all foods waste can go into the green carts.
"So whether it's that turkey carcass … meats or fats or bones, anything like that can go in your green cart for composting," Wagner said.
Just like grass clippings and organic yard waste, Wagner says your real Christmas tree can also go in the green bin.
Cut up your Christmas tree into smaller pieces so that it fits in your green cart, Wagner says. If your green cart gets too full, she says you can bundle the branches together and stack them next to your green bin beside your cart or put them in a compostable paper yard work bag.
"There is also the option to take it into a depot," Wagner said. "We have 16 set up across the city so you can take your entire tree into one of those depots and it will be composted there."
As for what can be recycled, Wagner says most wrapping products can go in your blue bin as long as they aren't coated in foil or a or metallic coating.
"If it's just paper wrapping paper, yes, that can go in," she said, adding that you must remove any parts of boxes or bags that aren't made of paper, including fabric handles and ribbons.
Do your best to remove any large pieces of tape attached to paper materials, "but a little bit of tape is just fine," Wagner said. Bubble wrap and inflatable packing pockets can also be recycled.
"We just ask that you put [bubble wrap] inside a plastic bag and tie the handle shut so it's all bundled up together," she said.
If you're not sure if something should be recycled or thrown away, Wagner says to check the item for a recycling symbol accompanied by a number for confirmation.
"So if they do have the recycling symbol and a number from 1 to 7 then yes, they can," she said. "If they don't have that number of them they do need to go in the garbage."
What to throw away
One exception to the above rule is products made from polystyrene foam, often called Styrofoam.
The lightweight material is used in packaging and construction and cannot be recycled in Calgary, despite having recycling symbols on them.
"If you do have [polystyrene] … even if it does have that recycling symbol on it, it is not accepted in our program and that would need to go in the black cart for garbage," Wagner said.
Polystyrene products include shipping materials like foam blocks and peanuts, foam coffee cups, take-out container and meat trays.
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With files from the Calgary Eyeopener