Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's recycling rates 'disappointingly low,' says councillor

Despite an initial bump in enthusiasm, recycling rates in the city have fallen. Counc. Sandy Hickman says only about ten percent of what's being sent to be processed now now is recycling.

Only 10 per cent of materials collected in St. John's end up being recycled

A city-wide recycling program was launched in St. John's in October 2010, but it doesn't include glass or organic waste. (CBC )

Residents in St. John's are recycling a lot less than they should be, according to one city councillor.

Despite an initial bump in enthusiasm, recycling rates in the city have fallen. Coun. Sandy Hickman said only about 10 per cent of what's being picked up is being processed for recycling.

"There's no question that it is disappointingly low," Hickman told the St. John's Morning Show. "I want people to understand that we should all be doing this, for the sake of our environment, for the sake of the cost to the city."

The 10 per cent diversion rate is much less than what would be needed for the city to cut back to bi-weekly garbage pickup.

Hickman said the surplus garbage is costing the city money, because Robin Hood Bay charges more to process garbage than to process recycling.

Small, but devoted

Hickman said the city doesn't have a demographic picture of who's recycling and who isn't.

Still, he said he knows that those who do recycle regularly are "totally committed to it."

"They do a great job of separating and cleaning, and when we sell the product outside the province the buyers are very pleased," he said.

​Hickman said there are a few towns throughout Newfoundland with much higher recycling rates — such as Carbonear — and their success should be replicated.

"Every household should be doing their thing to try and help recycle." 

With files from the St. John's Morning Show