Greater Victoria blue box program expands

Milk cartons and other gable-top containers can be added to recycling mix

Oak Bay Coun. Kevin Murdoch is adding milk cartons to his family's recycle box. Capital Regional District announced recently that milk cartons and other gable-top containers can now be recycled through the regional program.

Oak Bay Coun. Kevin Murdoch is adding milk cartons to his family's recycle box. Capital Regional District announced recently that milk cartons and other gable-top containers can now be recycled through the regional program.

Terri Hunter isn’t worried that fewer milk cartons will be dropped off at monthly recycling depots in Oak Bay.

For several years the Oak Bay Green Committee, of which Hunter is co-chair, has organized drop-offs for items that couldn’t be recycled through the regional blue box program.

“We always say we look forward to being put out of business,” Hunter said about the news last week that the Capital Regional District is expanding its recycling program, allowing more items to be put into the blue boxes that are emptied by district crews.

As of May 1, milk, and milk-substitute cartons, soup cartons, drink boxes and other gable-top containers can go into blue boxes. Polycoated containers can also be tossed in the bins, as well as plastic packaging materials and plastics. Cardboard and pizza boxes must still be bundled and left beside the blue box.

The CRD started the blue box program in 1989, recycling glass bottles, tins and aluminum. Newspapers were set out by residents in blue bags beside the boxes. (In Oak Bay wheeled blue totes are used for paper recycling.) Since then, almost 260,000 tonnes of recyclables has been diverted from the Hartland landfill in Saanich, the equivalent of about 40,000 garbage trucks.

Oak Bay Coun. Kevin Murdoch and his family have been avid recyclers since moving to their King George Terrace home seven years ago. He regularly drops off recyclables at a monthly depot but says taking that extra step out of the recycling equation will encourage more people to take part.

Oak Bay Public Works Yard accepts automotive and household batteries. They also accept empty household, but not industrial paint cans, and until June 30, full or empty pesticide containers can be dropped off at the parks department at the yards. But Murdoch would like to see recycling taken a step further by adding a red box component for hazardous items such as empty paint cans and solvents.

“Much of our sewer problems comes from people pouring stuff down drains,” he said.

The CRD will mail a new 2012-2014 recycling schedule to all homes on the curbside program, except to Oak Bay which has its own schedule.

For a full list of what can be recycled through the CRD blue box program, go to www.crd.bc.ca/recycling.