Lethbridge residents have been embracing curbside recycling.

City Staff report an increase of nearly 120% more material gathered through curbside collection than at the three recycling depots over the first year of the program.

Waste & Recycling Manager Joel Sanchez told City Council this week he’s happy with how things have turned out. “After one year of the program, on average, we see 65% of residents putting out their blue carts for collection. That is a very good number. Usually programs which are mature, they see a number around 70%”.

Of the recyclables arriving at the City’s sorting facility almost half is cardboard, 30% is mixed paper, and 5% consists of various plastics. Sanchez says about 10% are considered “contaminated” and can’t be recycled.

Council was told Monday (June 22) the program’s operating budget was well-balanced particularly given it was the first year of the program. Costs which include curbside collection and the operation of the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) neared $5.47 million with revenues from MRF and the curbside collection fees totalling $5.48 million.

Now that curbside recycling for single family homes is fully implemented, the Waste and Recycling team is continuing to implement recycling for multi-family homes which is expected to be completed by December 2021.

Education will also be a focus in the next year helping residents recycle often and properly to decrease blue cart contamination and reduce the recyclables still ending up in the landfill.

(With files from City of Lethbridge)