In the past those bags always daunted me. Recycling them meant piling them in my car and driving them downtown, or out to the SPCA. Or it meant waiting for a bottle drive, and on a few occasions delighted fundraisers were treated to the recycling bonanza that is in my garage. But for the most part "recycling" them meant they sit in my garage waiting, my own little personal landfill as they haven't been redirected in the waste stream but rather caught in it. But not anymore, people. Last week I had the privilege of attending the grand opening of the Fort McMurray Green Bottle Depot - and frankly, people, in my little world this place changes everything.
The new Green Bottle Depot is located at 170 Boreal Drive in the Taiga Nova Eco Park, which is tough to find if you don't know where it is (it's basically across Highway 63 from the Suncor Business Centre). It might take you a few minutes to find it, actually, as when I went it took me some time to sort out where exactly it is - but once found you'll never forget it, because this is the gem of bottle recycling.
It's a huge, bright facility. And as soon as you walk in the door you can sense there is an industrious nature here, the bottles being sorted and counted. It's almost entirely too easy, this kind of recycling. And frankly it appeals to my fundamental laziness.
There are some impressive numbers and facts associated with this facility. It can process 50 million beverage containers per year. It's the largest recycling facility in the province. And they will soon be home to some innovative equipment designed to automate and streamline the bottle return process. And even more importantly you have the option to donate your bottles directly to a charity, like our local SPCA.
I was also pretty excited to see a car wash attached to the bottle recycling facility. If you have a car in Fort Mac you KNOW there is a shortage of car washes (ask me about the time the car in front of me died at a local car wash and I was stuck in line for almost 3 hours - no, really, I dare you, ask me). And I almost chortled with delight upon being told that recycling worth a certain dollar amount could be exchanged for a car wash (I have enough recycling in my garage to keep my car clean for years, people, years). The car wash is not yet open but when it is I will be one of the first, bags of recycling in the trunk and smile on my face.
Look, I realize not everyone gets excited about recycling, but then again not everyone is keeping stacks of beverage containers in their garage (although every time a neighbour opens their garage door I see similar stacks and I am beginning to sense my recycling hoarding is a common disorder). I suspect the Green Bottle Depot has no idea how truly successful they are likely to be in this community, though. I suspect they have no idea how many of us have bags and bags of recycling we are just waiting to get rid of. I'm planning to go for a tour of the facility soon so they can show me how it works and explain the process. I loved that during the entire grand opening ceremony last week you could hear the rattling and clinking of bottles being sorted. When I go out for that tour I am loading up my car, and away I will go, trunk rattling and clinking. And when I open the trunk and my recycling from the last two years pours out (and gets donated to the SPCA) I think they just may realize exactly how successful they are going to be right here in Fort McMurray, home of recycling hoarders like me.
This is a map to the new Green Bottle Depot.
My advice? If you think you are hopelessly lost,
look up, because you probably just found it! ;D