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An environmental policy with teeth: Beaconsfield wants to recycle your old brushes
Published Saturday, December 21, 2019 11:14PM EST
MONTREAL -- When a child loses a tooth they put it under their pillow to be collected by the Tooth Fairy. The City of Beaconsfield wants to do something similar for toothbrushes as part of an effort to cut down on polluting plastics.
Under the program, which started this month, residents can walk into city hall and drop their old toothbrush into a bin. A second bin has been placed in the city’s recreational centre.
The initiative came together when officials realized residents were putting their old brushes in blue recycling bins.
“People need to become aware of this. This is part of our waste reduction strategy,” said Beaconsfield director of sustainable development Andrew Duffield.
More than 100 million toothbrushes are dumped in Canadian landfills every year.
In 2013 studies showed Beaconsfield was one of the biggest producers of garbage on the Island of Montreal. In 2016 a new system was implemented to change that. Residents began to be charged for garbage collection based on the size of their bin and how often they put it out for collection.
City officials said that change has resulted in three-quarters of residents paying less than the previous flat rate. However, one unintended consequence is residents are putting products into their recycling bins, like toothbrushes, that don’t belong there.
“One example is oral care products,” said Duffield. “They’re technically recyclable but shouldn’t be in the blue bin which is why we decided to put in an oral care box specifically to allow those products to be recycled.”