Do you know how to prepare your recyclables? Each year, it is estimated that Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste. As mentioned in my previous posts, ‘How to Use Eco-Friendly Laundry Strips’ and ‘5 Ways to Reduce Your Waste Consumption’ only 9% of plastics are recycled in Canada. While there are many contributing factors to this, two of them include our high consumption of single-use plastics along with not properly preparing our recyclables.
Our waste and plastic pollution problem is at large. The Government of Canada has a plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030, however until then, it’s important that we act as well. While we can’t completely reduce our waste and plastic consumption, we can certainly make changes towards a more sustainable future. Let’s support eco-friendly alternatives whenever possible and properly prepare our recyclables in 3 easy steps.
There’s no such thing as away. When we throw something away, it must go somewhere.annie leonard.
1) Acceptable or Unacceptable Items. Our items come in a variety of packaging, everything from our food to our personal products. If you’re unsure whether an item can be recycled or not, refer to your city’s website. Most websites offer a list of acceptable and unacceptable items along with resources on proper disposal. It takes just a few minutes to double check and reduce the risk of contamination. Here’s an example of Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto’s pages on recycling.
Did you know? According to The City of Calgary, anything smaller than the palm of your hand cannot be recycled. This includes beer caps, milk caps, bottle lids, etc. Instead of tossing them in the trash, find creative ways to repurpose them for craft projects.
2) Prepare. Make sure the items you are placing in your recycling bin are empty, dry, and clean. Properly prepare cans, glass jars, shampoo bottles etc., by pouring out excess liquids, giving them a good rinse, and allowing them to dry before placing in your recycling bin. Flatten cartons, containers and remove shipping label stickers from cardboard whenever possible. This ensures there’s no contamination and all items are clean and ready to be sorted in the recycling facility.
Did you know? Items that are contaminated with any type of food or product residue is considered garbage. Make sure you properly wash, rinse, and dry your items to avoid this.
3) Keep Items Loose. For items to be properly sorted for recycling, they must be loose and not packed tightly together unless specified otherwise. Most facilities rely on both human and state of the art technology to sort recyclables into proper categories. By following guidelines, you are ensuring an easy sorting process and that items successfully end up where they’re supposed to be.
Did you know? 70% of the sorting process in Calgary is automated and 30% is completed by employees by hand. By ensuring items are loose, it makes the process much more efficient.
I hope this post encourages you to look at your recycling habits and see if you can make any changes. Although it’s disheartening to know that only 9% is recycled, don’t let that deter you from putting items in the proper place. For more resources, visit The Government of Canada’s website for ways you can help reduce plastic pollution. Do you have any recycling tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts. For more eco-friendly posts, visit my tag here.