One visitor to the blog recognized the plant in this video clip. S/he pointed out that this plant is not sorting materials collected in the City of Vancouver.
Right! If it had been a load of City materials, paper and containers would not have been mixed together on the conveyor belt. Vancouver is one of the few remaining cities in the Metro region that ask households to separate their recyclables into three streams: newsprint, mixed household paper, and containers.
The recycling plant pictured here sorts materials from the growing number of cities in our region (and across North America) that offer single stream recycling. Households put all their recyclable materials in one container, leaving it to someone else to sort them out.
If you think (as I do) that this looks like a pretty awful job, standing at a speeding conveyor for 8 hours a day, consider this: what if it was not just recyclable materials flowing by, but mixed garbage?
The garbage industry is preparing to build three mixed waste processing plants, where people at conveyor belts like this will split open garbage bags and sort through the contents looking for recyclable and compostable materials. The proposal met with resistance from existing recyclers.
The rationale for the garbage-sorting plants is that people living in apartments and condos are never going to be convinced to sort their recyclable materials out of their garbage.