• John Jantak

Saint-Lazare wants residents to stop puting non-recyclable items into blue bins


PHOTO COURTESY VILLE DE SAINT-LAZARE

Despite being made of aluminum or vinyl, horizontal blinds are not something that should be tossed into blue bins for recycling.

Saint-Lazare residents are being urged not to throw garbage into their blue bins – a problem that also affects many other cities and towns throughout the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges region, according to Geneviève Hamel, Director of Communications for Saint-Lazare.

When residents put garbage into recycling bins, it hampers the effort at the sorting centre because the employees have to remove the garbage from the reusable materials. Depending on the type of garbage, it can also contaminate the recyclables and render them useless for reprocessing.

Unnecessary handling of contaminants

Every piece of garbage that is thrown into the blue bin must be manually removed from the conveyer belt by an employee and transferred to another dump truck for removal. This means more unnecessary handling of materials and more trucks going back and forth to the Lachute landfill which causes more carbon emissions and an additional waste of public funds.

“When we introduced the brown bins we held workshops for Saint-Lazare residents so they could learn how to compost their food residue. At the same time, we had some workshops so that people could learn what’s recyclable. We gave these workshops twice so people could learn to sort adequately but we didn’t have a lot a success with the blue bins workshops,” said Hamel.

Recyclable items

The people who followed the proper protocol for recyclables were very impressed because the person who gave the workshop is the sorting centre contractor.

“She’s been with the company for years. She told people it was unbelievable the amount of unusable material they’ve been receiving,” said Hamel.

“The blue bin has been conceived to receive cardboard, aluminium, plastic, glass and paper. Every third item on the conveyor belt is soiled diapers. It’s wasn’t conceived to receive garbage bags, pool tarps and other items that belong in the garbage. People are throwing in animal waste, medications and motors,” said Hamel.

“I don’t think everybody is doing it on purpose. Since they don’t know where they should put these items, they put it into the blue bin hoping it’s going to be recycled,” Hamel added.

PHOTO COURTESY VILLE DE SAINT-LAZARE

Bi-weekly garbage pickup

The problem may have become exacerbated because Saint-Lazare cut back on its weekly garbage collection to once every two weeks. “Some people may be upset so what they’re doing is putting their garbage into the blue bin instead,” said Hamel.

“Recycling centres have been getting a bad rap in the media because people are saying they’re doing very poorly. We have a large responsibility to make sure what we send there is actually recyclable,” Hamel added.

Rejecting non-compliant blue bins

The contractor who picks up the blue bins has been sending pictures to the town of the improper materials they find in the bin. All the trucks are equipped with cameras. Whenever non-recyclable materials are seen sticking out of a blue bin such as a pool ladder, the contractor has the right not to unload the bin.

The town has also launched its own initiative to inform residents of non-compliant items by sending a list of non-recyclable materials that are excluded from the process. For more information regarding the proper blue bin procedure, visit the city’s website at

ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/en/recyclage.

See more photos on our Facebook page.

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