Wet Dry +: A Guelph Garbage Primer

Thursday, September 8, 2005


Written by Kathryn Hofer

Kathryn Hofer is a Neighbourhood Relations Co-ordinator from Student Life. She will also be a contributor to this weekly column.

The City of Guelph’s 3-stream solid waste system is considered by many to be a shining pride of this forward thinking city. The wet-dry system was introduced in 1995 and City Council approved the “+” system in 2002. Today, the world of Wet-Dry+ includes 3 bags: green (wet) for compostables, blue (dry) for recyclables, and clear for waste (non-recyclable, non-compostable, and non-hazardous).

The thing is… for a lot of students it takes a little bit of time and energy to figure out Wet-Dry+. While you consider the system, take note of this fact: 62% of the 62,767 tonnes of waste collected in the City of Guelph in 2004 was diverted from landfill through compost and recycling processes. This is the ultimate sales pitch – if you lived off campus in the City of Guelph last year, 62% of your garbage was diverted from landfill. And all you had to do was sort your garbage into 3 different bags. The City did the rest of the work for you!

So take out your Wet-Dry+ magnet and give yourself a tutorial (if you don’t have a magnet, visit the Connection Desk in the UC, Level 3, or visit guelph.ca/wetdry for a sorting list). Make some mental notes along the way:

  • clear waste is only collected every other week
  • used condoms, pads, and tampons = Green
  • large pieces of Styrofoam, drink boxes, plastic containers = Blue
  • plastic bags, chip bags, cookie bags, packaging, ropes, clothes, hangers = Clear
  • paint cans, batteries = free disposal through Hazardous Waste – call 767-0598

You can purchase green, blue, and clear bags at local grocery stores, Canadian Tire, and Zellers. If you have questions, call the City of Guelph’s Wet-Dry+ hotline at 767-0598 or ask the person who collects your bags at the curb.

What To Do With An Orange Sticker

Everyone in the City of Guelph is waiting eagerly to learn that you have had success with the Wet-Dry+ system. Why? Because mis-sorted waste doesn’t get collected. City staff put a bright orange sticker on mis-sorted waste to let you know what went wrong and to kindly ask you to move the bag back into your place for re-sorting.

Sure, it is easy to dump a "stickered" bag at the local park or in a dumpster, but be aware that this is illegal and City Staff will use their forensic skills to try to find out who the garbage belongs to. If you get an orange sticker there is a quick and easy way to resolve the situation: call 767-0598 and ask what went wrong – then re-sort or take the bag to the dump for landfill, then try again the next week.

Large Items – a Free Garage Sale

Wet-Dry+ has a separate collection program for bulky items that requires registering your computer, tv, desk, fridge, couch, etc. with the City of Guelph prior to City Staff collecting the item. In addition, the City of Guelph works hard to co-ordinate the GOODS EXCHANGE WEEKEND with the return of University students each fall. To participate all you have to do is put your bulky items on the curb the weekend of September 16-18 for anyone to take. All the City asks is that you take remaining items back into your home on Sunday September 18.

When it comes to garbage, the entire city is here to support you. When you have a question about garbage ask your neighbour, ask a friend, ask a Neighbourhood Relations Peer Helper – , or call Wet-Dry+ at 767-0598

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