Ken Hicks has been out at the waste transfer station at Nesters every day for a week already and he doesn't have much to do.
It's freezing outside on a Monday and frost is frozen on his beard.
He's supposed to be educating people about cleaning and recycling their plastic bags, but instead he spends most of his time sweeping around the compactor, picking up garbage people have dropped while at the site.
"It's funny how people seem to drop their stuff when they're coming here," he said.
He has little else to do, it seems, because most people coming to the garbage yard have literally cleaned up their act.
"I've noticed the plastics are cleaner," said Hicks.
" A little bit. A little bit anyway."
But he does have a friendly reminder for everyone stopping by the yard to recycle their bags: "They have to be compostable, not biodegradable," he said.
Hicks is at the station as part of Carney's education program - part of the reprieve the sanitation company gave to banning #4 plastic bags. There's one person at each compactor site, five days a week for the next few weeks to help out if people need it, educate if they need, and sell green compost bins for $10 each.
The plastic ban was supposed to be in effect Jan. 1 but Carney's has bowed to pressure from the municipality to allow the recycling of soft plastics for three more months.
"We're going to do our best here in the next few months to educate the public to do a better job of cleaning," Owen Carney told Pique last week.
At the garbage yard a few people admitted that they were now more aware of recycling dirty plastics following Carney's announcement that they would cease taking #4 plastics and it has made them more cognizant. But most were already in the habit of cleaning their recycling.
"I definitely rinse out all the bottles and things like that," said Tyler Court, adding that he cleans "a majority" of the garbage he puts in the bags if they need rinsing.
"With plastic bags, I just keep it for garbage," he said.
"I definitely try to clean up as much as possible."
Said Tracy Higgs: "We pretty much clean all of our recycling anyways. It's just kind of nicer for us as well.
"We don't really use a lot of plastic bags and we don't have any problem cleaning them."
She said bags aren't even the issue - most of what her family gets rid of is the packaging for products.
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