‘Blue box’ pickup resumes next week

Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown is urging town residents to be patient, and keep putting their recyclables into the “blue box” and not the garbage can, until the new curbside pickup schedule comes into effect next week.
“I’ve seen some ‘blue boxes’ out there already. We know there’s going to be a lot to pick up, with Christmas and all,” Brown remarked.
“It might take a couple more hours, but at least we’re now diverting waste from the landfill in a more cost-effective manner,” he added, referring to the fact that starting Monday, “blue boxes” will be picked up following the same five-day cycle as the town’s garbage collection, but only on a bi-weekly basis.
Residents should have received the new garbage/recycling schedules in their mailboxes over the past few weeks as these were delivered by the Fort Frances Aquanauts over the Christmas break.
But if you didn’t, you can pick them up at the Public Works building on Fifth Street West, noted Brown.
Brown previously said the two-week holiday break for “blue box” pickup was done in the sense of “fairness,” noting that before last year, the town had carried on with its collection during the holiday season—only taking days off for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day.
But that meant some residents would get pickup while others would not, and led to confusion for many.
Council approved the revised recycling schedule at its Dec. 8 meeting. Brown said the reason for these changes are twofold.
First, homeowners are accustomed to the five-day cycle for garbage collection. Thus, it’s more convenient for homeowners to put recycling materials and waste out for collection on the same day, he noted.
As such, residents only will need to remember one day of the week where both services will be provided, which hopefully will boost participation, Brown added.
Secondly, the cost for labour and fuel will be cut roughly in half. The estimated savings is about $25,000 per year—22 percent of the town’s annual recycling costs, Brown said.
As previously reported, another change approved by council will see residents in apartment buildings (multi-residential properties) switch to an individual “blue box” system as opposed to using communal bins for recyclables.
This means residents of these buildings will have to get their own “blue boxes,” sort their own recyclables, and put out their “blue boxes” at the curb for pick-up just like everyone else.
Brown said the reason for this was cross-contamination of two main recycling “streams”—paper products and plastics and metals.
Basically, people indiscriminately have been dumping all recyclables into the same bins, resulting in an unreasonably time-consuming chore for either the recycling truck driver and/or the Koochiching County recycling depot staff.
This latter change only will be for a three-month trial basis so the town can evaluate if it is feasible to maintain service to multi-residential complexes on an on-going basis.
Just as in the past year, acceptable recyclables will continue to include paper bags, newsprint, office paper, magazines in small quantities, corrugated cardboard (cut to 16” x 20” max.), #1 and #2 plastics, clean aluminum/steel beverage cans, and clean metal food cans (rinse, remove labels, and crush).
Glass recyclables still can be dropped off in the large blue bins on Wright Avenue North by the Public Works building.
(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)