The Sisterhood of the Travelling Blue Box

Last fall, my son and I went to some sort of City run information fair about waste management and conservation.  My son got a real kick out of flushing bright rubber tubes down a low flow toilet they had on display. Flushing over and over and over.  I got little more out of the recycling displays.

I learned that the City now accepts a wider range of plastics and even empty aerosol cans into the blue boxes.  That’s how I started recycling more last fall.  But I started recycling a long time ago.

Aluminium soft drink cans were one of the first things we started to recycle at school.  Drink containers are the best things to recycle—not too messy and the material tends to be in demand.       

When Cornwall (where I was living at the time) launched its municipal blue box program, my family started to put a variety of food containers in the blue box.  I don’t think we even rinsed them or took the labels off, but it was a start.

In the late 1990s, I went away to school in Guelph, Ontario.  Here, instead of a blue box, we put all the “dry”, non-compostable waste in clear blue plastic bags.  This was part ofGuelph’s experiment in a Wet/Dry garbage system, wherein all household waste went into one of those two waste streams.  By then, I was rinsing out tin cans before chucking them.

I lived in student residence the summer of 1998 in Rimouski, Quebec.  I didn’t see any recycling program there…  Really?  We just put recyclables in the garbage?  Weird.  Recycling had become second nature.

When I lived in an apartment in Cornwall, I had a small blue box that I would empty into one of the blue carts by the parking lot when I took my trash to the dumpster.

At my apartment in Williamsburg, we stored recyclables in an outdoor wooden cupboard. Williamsburg was quaint and small like that. 

Most communities use the blue box, but the program is a bit different in each to suit the community.  What goes into the blue box is different from one city to the next and changes over time.  So part of the recycling habit is keeping tabs on the latest recycling news.  How do you get the blue box to fit in where you are?


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