Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Friday, July 27, 2012

RRRibbit, Recycling, and Me in the RMWB

I can't even begin to describe my excitement when I saw them. There they were, pristine and gleaming in the sunshine as I turned into my driveway when I returned home. Every neighbour's driveway held them too, shiny and new and ready. I feel the same little shiver of thrill I get when I arrive home and see a parcel by the front door, knowing it is a new pair of shoes I've ordered from some far-flung destination. But these little gems on my driveway were way better than new shoes. There they were, black and blue, and just waiting to be filled. What were they? My new garbage and recycling bins from the RMWB, that's what.

So maybe such excitement over recycling and garbage bins seems absurd, but not to me. I remember when I first arrived in Fort McMurray a decade ago and was stunned to discover the state of our recycling. Recycling wasn't easy. There was no blue bin to put out on garbage collection day. No, you had to collect your recycling and then transport it yourself to central recycling points, often finding them full anyhow (try stuffing more cardboard into an already stuffed bin and you will know the meaning of "frustrated"). For me collecting the recycling was the easy part. The transporting it was the hard part, and so the mountain of recyclables in my garage grew and grew and grew. And then my new recycling containers arrived.

I was gleeful as I rolled them into the garage - and frankly I have been gleeful every collection day, too, as the mountain of recycling grows smaller. Transportation doesn't mean trying to stuff all the recycling into my too-small-for-this vehicle and then into a too-full-for-this recycling container. Nope. It means dumping it into my bin and wheeling it down to the end of my driveway. I think I might actually hum while I do it, which is a far cry from the words I used to say when on my twice-yearly transportation of recyclables.

The program isn't perfect, of course. Glass still needs to be transported, and so glass mountain remains in my garage (and the collection of wine bottles might indicate to some that I have a wee drinking problem until they realize it is a collection from years of house parties and late summer evenings with friends). And my neighbours still seem a bit confused about the schedule, occasionally putting out their cardboard recycling bin when it should be their plastics, and then looking bemused when they come home and discover the bin still full. For me, though, this is effortless. It is easy. It is the lazy person's way to recycle, and let me tell you when it is easy I become a fiend about things (I blame the ease of online shoe shopping for my shoe addiction, frankly). So I am an utter recycling fiend now, often pulling things other family members have tossed into the garbage and reclaiming them for the proper recycling bin. I recycle paper and plastics and am working on teaching all the other family members to do the same, although the dog seems rather puzzled by the entire affair and refuses to catch on.

And I admit it. Initially I found RRRibbit, the municipality's recycling mascot, a little bit creepy. I'm not a fan of things in costume, and I will tell you right now Disney World damn near killed me and only fear of jail time and scarring my kid forever kept me from punching some of those things in mascot costumes when they got too close to me. Now, though, I'm becoming a fan of that frog. I've softened towards him since he represents recycling in the RMWB, and I am a huge fan of that, and how easy it has become.

I am recycling fanatic, people, and I thank the RMWB for making it easy for me to be one. Just a caution, though. While I've softened towards RRRibbit I would suggest he not sidle up to me unexpectedly. I'd hate to be known as the fanatical recycler AND the woman who knocked RRRibbit flat with one punch.

My sincere thanks to
the RMWB
for my new recycling bins,
and to RRRibbit -
for continuing to keep his distance
from unpredictable bloggers with
mascot phobias ;)


  1. Great post. I'm glad to have gotten my containers as well in recent weeks. We've had a recycling program where I grew up in Ontario for quite some time now so I'm already quite aware of how much I throw away. I've noticed a huge difference in how much gets thrown out now compared to before. Earlier in the Spring, between myself and 4 tenants, 4-6 garbage bags as pretty commonplace. Now, we are down to around two and sometimes even one a week. Hopefully when people start to notice the differences for themselves it will encourage them further.

  2. Hi there, we are new in Fort Mcmurray and lil confused about those 2 blue bins. I have one question to ask, how shell i fill my bins can I use a plastic ( recycling)bag for small items or all must be loose ;-))) Sorry to be silly but today only my light blue bin is standing full, i feel bad about that.Or maybe it is coz of wine bottle which I placed in side?

    1. McMurray MusingsThursday, March 21, 2013

      Hey there! Not sure if I completely understand but the recycling works in such a way that one week they collect the light blue bin and the second week they collect the dark blue bin. I throw all my items in loose,and currently you cannot recycle glass in the RMWB bins. This link has the collection calendar and lots of info on recycling in RMWB :) Calendars&page=webpages&menuid=90&id=416&action=displaypage&side=1