Recycling dos and don'ts confuse Moncton residents

Confusion about what's recyclable has led to Moncton's waste company putting ads in the local paper to try to fix the problem.

Confusion about what’s recyclable has led to Moncton's waste company putting ads in the local paper to try to fix the problem.

"If it's raw meat, I'll just put in the wet, because to me that's contaminated. And I don't know if that can be recycled," said Madeline Currier.

Even though she's lived in Moncton for four years, Currier says she and her family still get confused about the garbage and recycling system.

Southeastern New Brunswick is on a green and blue bag system — green is for wet items and blue is for dry items.

"I would rather be told what I can put, or what I should put in each of the coloured bags, rather than these labels that don't mean anything to me, the wet and dry," Currier said.

"People are just as confused no matter what label that you put on it, it's just something everyone has to use their own common sense, and try to do their best to follow the guidelines," said Mary MacDonald, spokeswoman for the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation.

But Currier says she hasn't been able to get a clear explanation from the solid waste corporation’s website, instead she's learned through word of mouth.

"Some of those dirty things in fact can be recycled like take-out containers and meat trays, when you buy meat in the store and they come on the Styrofoam. So apparently I've been doing it wrong," Currier said.

The corporation knows people can be confused with the wet and dry labels.

Residents sometimes assume a recyclable that is wet, has residue on it or is greasy cannot be put in the blue bag.

"If there's water on it, or a little bit of juice, or your pizza box is a little bit dirty — still put it in the blue," said Erin Klinghammer, environmental operations manager for the company.

When people don't know if their recyclables are clean enough for the dry blue bags, they tend to throw it out in the green bag, Klinghammer said.

"We don't want our compost contaminated. We have a big problem with people putting glass jars in the green bag and even if the glass jars or plastic containers aren't completely rinsed out and clean, that's still OK," Klinghammer said.

While the corporation says it will not change the wet and dry designations, it plans to update its website and send out a list to all residents about what can and cannot be recycled.