Dear Mabel with guest Heather Gowland from City of Lethbridge Waste and Recycling

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In February, we asked Heather Gowland from the City of Lethbridge’s Waste and Recycling department to join us to answer questions from our readers about the implementation of curbside recycling in Lethbridge. Here are the questions that were submitted along with Heather’s answers. Thanks to Heather for taking the time answer these questions!

What is the best thing to do with unnumbered plastics?

Unnumbered plastics are not recyclable in the City of Lethbridge recycling program. When considering the best options for managing waste at home, always come back to the concept of the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  To reduce the amount of unnumbered plastic that goes to waste, we have a role, as a consumer, to purchase products which support sustainable packaging.  Finding ways to reuse items can also be an effective way to reduce waste at home. Finally, recycling is a better option than sending materials to be landfilled. That said, recycling is only an effective system if it is done right.


Are garbage and recycle bins suppose to be put out in front or behind property owners, own place?I have neighbors that bring across the street to put there bins behind my house. What is the bylaw on this?

The waste collection location is determined based on many factors, and may be in front of the home or in the alley. For any specific inquiries about residential waste collection at your home, please call 403-320-3850


Metal recycling is considered to be the most valuable. What is our $ return on recycled metal?

The market value of recyclables fluctuates with the changing global supply and demand. After factoring in transport, the city receives anywhere from $10/t – $90/t for metal recycling.  The value of each product depends on its individual markets, and the weight and volumes that affect transport. Just as with any commodity market, you can find information on the fluctuating markets at places such as The Recycling Council of Alberta webpage:


Will the City of Lethbridge be enforcing use of the blue bins?

In 2019 all residential utility account holders will be required to pay for the recycling program and will be given a blue cart to use. The City will not force residents to use the blue cart – that is up to the resident. The City will offer materials that will assist residents in using the program properly and with the barriers that may come up for a particular household.


I currently recycle plastic bags at one of the city recycling depots. Will there be any means to recycle plastic bags in future?

Plastic bags will continue to be accepted for recycling at the Recycling Stations and conveniently, at many of the grocery stores where people acquire them. Plastic bags will not be accepted in the curbside recycling program as they have proved to be problematic in the sorting machinery. Reducing the amount of plastic bags used and reusing the bags for other purposes can also help manage plastic bag amounts at home.


Are there a few items that are not allowed in the trial run blue bins that are accepted at the depots?

Yes. Plastic bags and all glass will be accepted at the Recycling Stations. These items will not be accepted in the blue cart program.


How will the new cart recycling program adapt for people living in apartments, so they can easily recycle with the blue cart system?

During the 2018 Phase 1 Curbside Recycling program, several apartment buildings will also receive collection of their ‘blue cart’ recycling material. The City will work with property managers and owners to come up with solutions that work for each unique dwelling style, property nuances, and the individuals who live there. The City is hoping to learn enough in 2018 to be able to offer a number of viable recycling options for multi-dwelling buildings throughout the City.

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