Nfld. & Labrador

Just 6% of what's put on the curb in C.B.S. is for recycling — and that's a problem, says mayor

It costs less money to recycle than to take something to the dump.

Money saved on recycling costs could be put back into town, mayor says

C.B.S. Mayor Steve Tessier says it costs less to bring recycling to the dump than to bring garbage, and that money could go back into the town. (CBC)

Just six per cent of what people put out on the curb in Conception Bay South is headed for recycling, and the mayor is hoping people will soon clue in to how easy it is to recycle.

Mayor Steve Tessier says he's not sure why the recycling rate in his town is so terrible.

Young people tend to be catching on fairly quick, it's probably people more my age that are slow to pick up on this.- Steve Tessier

"We educate, we promote it, we make it very easy for people to do it, we have a biweekly service that we pick up the recycling, but for some reason it's just not seeming to catch on out here in Conception Bay South," he said.

And that's a costly loss for the community.
Steve Tessier, mayor of Conception Bay South, says younger people seem more inclined to sort through their trash and recycle. (CBC)

"The tipping fees at Robin Hood Bay facility is a lot less. We pay about $20 a tonne for recycling. We're paying about $67, $68 a tonne for garbage," Tessier said.

"The money [saved] will go back into other resources and other programs so it's a great thing to do."

'Make it a priority'

In Mount Pearl, council has opted for using clear garbage bags in the hopes that this will prompt people to think more about what they're throwing in the trash — and whether or not it can be recycled. 

Mount Pearl has moved to using clear garbage bags to help reduce the amount of garbage being sent to the landfill. (CBC)

Tessier likens this tactic to "forced recycling," and says he'd rather residents themselves take the initiative to sort through their refuse.

"The municipalities do what they can to make it easy for people to do it, but it's just a matter of the residents picking it up and saying, 'I'm gonna take this on and make it a priority,'" he told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

"In my house here we have three different bins — your paper, your plastics and your garbage — and it's fairly easy as you're going along. I find that the young people tend to be catching on fairly quick; it's probably people more my age that are slow to pick up on this."

There's hope yet

In Vancouver, around 60 per cent of what residents throw away is recycled or composted.

Once you start implementing it, C.B.S. Mayor Steve Tessier says, recycling is easy. (David Horemans/CBC News)

While Tessier says comparing a town like C.B.S. to Vancouver is a stretch — because Vancouver started emphasizing recycling a long time ago — it's still a good goal.

"We still have hope, I guess, that we will get to that point, in time," he said.

"Again, it's a fairly easy process to recycle. We pick it up here in C.B.S. every two weeks, same as the garbage day, so if your garbage day is Wednesday, you put recycling out every two weeks and it's picked up. There's no extra effort."

With files from the St. John's Morning Show