Let’s Talk Trash: Sort it, then store it

If you find yourself doing a major spring clean of your entire house and yard, you are not alone. Well, maybe you literally are alone, but you know what we mean.

With unexpected extra time at home you might finally be able to start crossing some projects off your list.

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While this is potentially a great use of your social distancing time, what is your plan once you’ve sorted through your closet, built that shelving unit, or tackled that blackberry bush? Thrift stores are closed for donations, and waste facilities have shifted to a slower service capacity, so our spring cleaning disposal plan needs to adjust as well.

So far, measures taken locally mean curbside recycling for paper and containers is still operating as always with biweekly pickups. Curbside garbage is ongoing but $2 bag tag stickers have been waived for the first two bags.

These methods of managing our waste should be preferred over heading to the transfer station with one or two bags of household waste and a few recyclables. As a general rule, use curbside if you have it, and be efficient about the trips you do make to facilities.

Now is not the time to take a single bag of recycling to the depot. Instead, please do everyone the courtesy of pre-sorting and storing depot recyclables and when you have more than you are able to safely store, drop them off using all recommended safety precautions during your visit. Also, ensure all garbage is in a bag, not loose, and note that payments must be made by credit or debit cards at Augusta Recyclers.

By all means sort away, though. Being stuck at home with a face full of all of our excess can really motivate us to minimize. A great way to start is to place a box in each room and when you feel moved to, open a drawer and sort out anything you haven’t touched for a year. Chances are, if you haven’t needed it in a calendar year, you likely won’t for the next. There are exceptions, of course, but being ruthless is a good direction to lean toward.

Boxes for donation can be set aside for the time when thrift stores will inevitably open again.

Need extra motivation? Watch the documentary Minimalism or Marie Kondo’s series Tidying Up during some of your extra hours on the home front.

Jokes about toilet paper and hand sanitizer shortages aside, we are all likely doing a better job than ever with sanitizing our hands and surfaces around our homes. Soap and water are still the best choice, but where that isn’t possible some are turning to wet wipes, sanitized or otherwise.

Despite the claim that some are “flushable,” none should be sent down the drain. Our wastewater treatment facilities are great at dealing with toilet paper, but wet wipes are much more durable and they clog pipes, both municipally and in household plumbing. City of Powell River has already advised the public to dispose of wet wipes of all kinds in the garbage to ensure local facilities run efficiently.

While we clean up our act to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus, we can also clean up our homes. Enjoy the time getting organized and tidying up, while considering the shifts in waste service capacities.

Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program.

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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