Clothes, textiles to be added for curbside recycling pickup

Mount Pearl residents will soon be able to add another type of item to the recycling bin – their old clothes.
The City plans to pick up household textiles at the curb, and offer a central drop off point, as part of its recycling program, with the material being sorted for donations or converted to rags for use in the depot and public works department.
The provincial government’s Multi Materials Stewardship Board is giving the City $10,000 towards trying out the idea.
The MMSB is giving the City an additional $10,000 to evaluate its existing curbside recycling program, educate residents about its environmental benefits, and reward and enforce participation through random curbside audits.
Council’s Infrastructure and Public works Committee chairman John Walsh acknowledged the grants during last week’s public council meeting.
“The textiles one was really interesting to me,” Walsh said. “These are great initiatives and the money will be well spent.”
Walsh noted the plastic garbage boxes used for residential trash collection makes it harder for operators to see what is being thrown away and sometimes “problematic” items end up in the bins. The random audits may counter some of that.
Deputy Mayor Jim Locke said two such problematic items, namely a couple of 20 pound propane tanks, were recently discovered in the garbage. Fortunately, he added, workers were able to identify the tanks during screening so that they didn’t up in a compactor and possibly explode from the pressure of crushing them.
“I wanted to bring this up publicly because people have no idea what they’re doing when they’re throwing this stuff out,” Locke said. “They’ve got to dispose of that type of material in the appropriate way. You can’t put that in a black garbage bag and throw it out because we could have a massive fire, potential health effects, a death even. So I like this initiative where we’re going to do some auditing to see what we’re putting in the black bags right now… We do have to do a better job of educating people about the importance of what not to put in these bins for the safety of the residents and our collectors.”
Walsh added that other problematic items are ending up in the trash too, such as tubular fluorescent lighting bulbs, car parts, cellular phones and paint cans. “There are all kinds of things that should be recycled through other means that are now hidden,” he said.
One of the goals of the spot auditing and education program, Walsh pointed out, is to get the City’s diversion rate for recyclable materials back up to where it used to be. The diversion rate has decreased from about 15.5 per cent of the household garbage being put on the curb to about 9.5 per cent.
As for the textile recycling program, Mayor Randy Simms noted textiles make up some four per cent of Mount Pearl’s garbage stream. “And we’re going to be able to take probably all of that out,” he said.
The City and MMSB are hoping to divert some 170 tonnes of textiles annually from the regional landfill as a result of the program.

Posted on August 7, 2015 .