So you’ve told yourself, and your friends, that you’re committed to do your best to help the planet and recycle all of the packaging and materials that come into your home.
You’ve went out and bought one of the many devices that organizes three bags beside each other – one for your plastics and glass, one for your paper, and one for your aluminum cans, plastics bottles, and juice boxes. You even bought a ball of twine so you can tie up your corrugated boxes and get them to the curb.
Now you diligently place materials you believe go in the proper bag. Once they are full you get them to the curb before the specified time in the morning …. But what’s this??? Half your bags have been rejected!!! You’ve tried so hard! You’re a Guardian of the Planet after all! This can’t be happening!
So let’s take a look at the first bag, the one that’s for the plastic and glass
Ok so you’ve placed your plastic grocery bags in there – great! You’ve placed your Milk/Silk cartons in there but – OH WAIT – you’ve left the caps on all of them… this is not only two different products at the recycling facility, but also creates a serious hazard. If the cap makes it to the baler and gets compressed, or a forklift drives over it, that cap now becomes a projectile that can injure an employee. So please remove the caps!
Moving on – you’ve rinsed the shampoo bottles, great! You’ve cleaned the aluminum plates off. But oops – you’ve left the paper label on the canned peas and corn! Again, two different products – take the paper label off and place it in the paper bag, ensuring both the can and lid is rinsed. Drop the lid in the can and give the can a squeeze so the lid does not fall out and cut the bag, or a recycling employee.
Recycling Tip: If you thought those chip bags were plastic – no way! They are (unfortunately) garbage.
So what about those glass bottles? Do you really think leaving a half full bottle of pasta sauce is helpful in the recycling process – NO – this is now garbage! What you say? Yes, the sorting line at the recycling plant moves so fast that your good intentions have now produced more garbage. So take that bottle out, empty the old sauce in your green bin, rinse the lid and bottle, and then separate them – again two different recyclable products…
Wow! This is not as easy as you thought, is it? No, but you’re learning and getting better at it every time.
We’re glad you’ve also decided to take the juice boxes, beer and pop cans to the Enviro-Depot for cold hard cash. The Recycling facility can do the same thing but wouldn’t your rather that cash back in your pocket? It pays to recycle in more ways than one.
There, we’ve covered one of the bags. Moving on to the recycle “Paper” bag
Remove the plastic window from pasta boxes and envelopes – again, two different products. Flatten your cereal boxes (by the way – these are great to fill up with ‘wet organics ‘and placed in your Green Bin), and go ahead and throw all your paper egg cartons, shredded paper, newsprint, catalogues, magazines, and phone books in there, as these are all great recyclables!
Did you know that Scotia Recycling offers paper shredding services?
So now you’ve got your garbage
Make sure it’s in a clear bag and go for it: dry paint cans, pet waste, broken glass (wrapped/boxed so no one gets hurt), coffee cups, those potato chip bags mentioned earlier, diapers, cold ashes (not your mother in laws), small appliances, broken furniture and rolled carpets. These are just a few of the things that are classified as garbage.
We hope that this has helped a little bit. The smallest things can make the biggest difference and with recycling this is most definitely true.
If you are in the West Hants area of Nova Scotia, please see the see “What goes Where” web application which will help guide you through which type of materials should go where.
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