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Recycling clipartMany communities in Alberta have some form of recycling program. Some communities collect just one or two types of materials, others collect a wide range. Some communities have curbside (more commonly known as blue-box) collections, others have drop-off bins at selected locations, and still others have both. It all depends on the size of the community, the resources they have at hand, whether they can establish markets for their collected materials and how economical it is to collect and transport the material to market. Many communities are working together on a regional basis to reduce costs and to increase volumes of materials collected to improve (or to even make viable) the market potential.

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The Beverage Container Collection System, operating under provincial government legislation, ensures the recycling of glass, plastic and metal beverage containers. Containers holding most ready-to-serve drinks have a deposit that is refunded when these containers are brought back to the bottle depot. There are over 200 bottle depots located throughout Alberta. Only a fewBottles clipart containers are exempted form this deposit system, such as milk containers. Originally designed as a litter management program, the focus on this system has recently changed to reflect not only that beverage containers be collected, but that the beverage manufacturers themselves have the responsibility to ensure they are recycled - so do not throw beverage containers in the garbage! Take them back to the depot where they will be collected for recycling (and you will get your refund!).

In addition to beverage containers as one large grouping, the province also recycles materials such as paper, metals, plastics, glass, oils from vehicles (containers and filters), scrap tires, and batteries.

In the past, we have harvested our resources and managed our wastes. In the future, it is hope that we will manage our resources and harvest our wastes. We all play a part in the production of waste. But we can control the impact of that waste by actively reducing and reusing, recycling what you can, making use of bottle depots, and participating in drug and household hazardous waste round-up programs in the community. Every action can indeed make a difference.

Reprinted from Focus On Waste Reduction  (1997) with permission of Alberta Environment.

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