Anyone that goes through a blue box to pick out valuable items should be applauded. It shows a level of entrepreneurship and also stewardship. Recyclable items have value. If Oakville residents decide to put recyclable items on the side of the road, they are foregoing the opportunity to convert those recyclable items to cash. If someone else decides to, good for them.
A recent article explained how an Oakville resident has had enough of Blue Box scavengers in his neighbourhood. This resident was unsettled by the scavengers going through his trash and concerned about how Halton Region was losing out on potential revenue from selling recyclable items.
The potential revenue generated by such recyclable items likely pales in comparison to the cost of picking up and sorting those items on a large scale. Scavengers are providing a public service for free by going through people’s recycling bins. If scavengers were in every neighbourhood in Oakville and thoroughly sorted through the contents in blue boxes, it could drastically reduce the work necessary for Halton Region Waste Management.
Halton Waste Management doesn’t require people to sort items into paper, cardboard, plastics and glass anymore. The mixed recycling that is now in place increases recycling rates, but the cross contamination results in higher sorting costs for the region.
If scavengers can make money by going house to house and sorting recyclables, they should be supported, not criticized.
Photo Courtesy of Molly