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Aluminum cans…the bottom line.

phill_cutoutWe need to talk about aluminum cans in the blue box, and it’s not going to be easy.  Because with aluminum cans in the blue box, comes scavenging.  And scavenging, faithful reader, is a sensitive issue.

Aluminum cans are the bread and butter in the municipal recycling world.

Aluminum markets are strong, meaning we see a good return when we send aluminum to be recycled.  It is a material that can be infinitely recycled, and this recyclability saves massive amounts of energy and resources.  An aluminum can you throw in your blue box today, will be back on the shelf in as little as 90 days. An aluminum can that is thrown in the ditch, or a garbage can is a great tragedy. Potential wasted.

Over here at the recycling plant, we’ve noticed a decline in aluminum cans due in part to many drinks now being packaged in plastic bottles.  This decline, has led to a decline in revenue that would normally help offset the cost to operate the blue box program. This decline in revenue results in an increase in municipal taxes.

The bottom line”we can no longer afford to litter, or throw aluminum cans in the garbage.

Every single can counts this year, and the years to follow.  We need every resident to pay close attention to their aluminum cans both at home and while away.

The other decline in aluminum cans is due in part to scavenging.  During the wee hours of recycling day, there are people driving around rummaging through blue boxes grabbing every aluminum can they can.

People are trying to make a living”we understand this. And this is why scavenging is such a hot issue.  Many residents think Quinte Waste Solutions is a private for-profit company, so they tend to side with the scavenger. But, as you know, we are not a private company; we are a municipal service governed by a Board of Directors consisting of elected municipal councilors from our nine member municipalities.

You pay taxes every year to operate the blue box service.

It costs you roughly $32-$47 dollars a year to have your recycling collected and processed to be recycled (this amount also includes the cost to operate the hazardous and electronic waste program!).  It’s a service that keeps your garbage costs low, and helps the environment.

We strive to keep taxes low, and that is why aluminum is so important to a blue box program. Over the past ten years, we’ve seen a decline in aluminum equaling 100metric tonnes in total.  Each metric tonne is worth roughly $1,900.00 (depending on market values). In total, that equals a decline in $190,000 in revenue that would normally go towards helping offset operational costs.  Instead that $190,000 has been offset by municipal levies, your taxes.  Every time an aluminum can is scavenged from the blue box, it has an affect on your taxes. It’s that simple.  

So here’s the solution.

Do not litter! Keep your community beautiful, you deserve it!
Resist Laziness! Never throw an aluminum can in the garbage. Hold onto that can while away until you get home, or until you find an appropriate recycling container.
Crush It!  Reduce wind blown litter from your blue boxes by crushing cans and flattening plastic bottles and cartons.
Before 7 am! Avoid putting your blue box out the night before your collection day. To reduce scavenging put your blue box out on your collection day by 7AM.
Encourage a By-Law. Talk to your municipality about instating a by-law to thwart scavenging.  Call your municipality to report it.
Recycle other aluminum.  Make sure to recycle your aluminum foil and pie plates.  Clean off any food that may be on them first.
Sort! Sorting matters. Put all of your aluminum cans, foil, and pie plates in with your plastic and metal containers blue box.

Questions? Comments? Email us or call us 613-394-6266 or toll free 1-800-210-0762.