The holiday season can result in increased amounts of waste, and Rocky View County’s (RVC) Waste and Recycling department has several tips for how to dispose of that material.
“Our hope, as with any time of the year, is that people think ahead and make as little waste as possible,” said Jennifer Koole, Waste and Recycling lead advisor.
Most boxes and wrapping paper can be recycled, she said, either through curbside recycling (where available) or at chuck wagons and transfer sites. Ribbons and bows should be disposed of in the garbage, according to Koole – or better yet, saved and reused. As for plastics, anything bearing the familiar symbol can be recycled, but she noted many plastics used for packaging won’t meet that criteria.
“If you can’t see a recycling symbol on it, or it’s extra, extra stiff…it’s often not recyclable,” she said. “If in doubt…we are asking people to throw it out.”
When it comes to holiday feasts, she said, food waste can be tossed in Langdon’s green bins and Elbow Valley’s chuck wagon, as can soiled napkins and some paper plates, depending on the material they’re made from.
“The more paper-esque [plates] are very good in your green bin,” Koole said. “Some, if they are clean and they’re more stiff paper…can be recycled. Otherwise, if they’re heavily soiled or made of plastic material, then they have to go to the landfill.”
Elsewhere, vegetative material, paper plates and napkins can be composted at home, she said. She noted County residents should pay special attention to dispose of food waste in a way that does not attract wildlife, either by keeping it in the garage or in similarly secure locations that animals cannot access.
Plastic utensils and plates, meanwhile, are too light to be sorted in the recycling program and must be thrown out or washed and used again.
Any broken decorations, according to Koole, are garbage material. When it comes to decorations that are simply unwanted, she suggests keeping them out of the landfill by donating them.
In general, Koole encourages residents to find ways to reduce their waste, reuse or donate items they might otherwise throw out, or recycle items wherever possible.
“We feel like a lot of people…are already doing a lot of that, because that’s the lifestyle they choose,” she said.
Disposing of waste and recycling can look very different from resident to resident, she added, in a municipality as diverse as RVC.
“Not everyone has the same level of service available to them,” Koole said. “Depending on where you live in the County, you may or may not have services like curbside [pickup in Langdon] or a transfer site or a chuck wagon close to you.”
Some materials may be disposed of at sites in neighbouring municipalities, she noted, such as Airdrie’s Eastside Recycle Depot, Cochrane’s Eco Station or Crossfield’s Transfer Site.
To find your nearest centre and familiarize yourself with its hours, Koole recommends visiting rockyview.ca
Transfer sites will be closed on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but will otherwise be open as usual, according to Koole. Residents of Langdon should not anticipate any interruptions to waste collection because of the holidays.