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What Happens to Recyclable Garbage Put in the Wrong Bin

According to the Toronto Star, “Ontario has a waste problem; every year, Ontario produces nearly one tonne of waste per person and three-quarters of [this waste] ends up in landfills.”

Although switching to environmentally conscious methods of waste reduction (like composting or recycling) is encouraged, a vast amount of recycled waste still ends up in landfills. The reason for this is that people are recycling wrong with contaminated and non-recyclable objects ending up in the wrong bin. By brushing up on your recycling practices and by learning what happens to recyclable garbage put in the wrong bin, you can begin to change the efficiency of recycling practices in your local community.

recyclable garbages in the wrong bin

Dealing with Contaminated Recyclables

You might not think about what you are putting into your recycling bin, but it may be time to start.

The argument of what should and should not be recycled is a two-sided issue. On the one hand, there is far too much organic and recyclable materials ending up in landfills that are releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere but, on the other side, people are recycling wrong. Statistics published by the Toronto Star suggest that “last year, 45,000 tonnes of garbage and other non-recyclables were mistakenly put into blue bins in Toronto.”

According to a CBC article entitled Many Canadians are recycling wrong, and it costs us millions, “Canadians are throwing too much garbage into their blue bins, sometimes out of laziness or ignorance, but sometimes with the best of intentions. And it costs recycling programs millions of dollars a year.” As the article states, even a spoonful of peanut butter left in the bottom of the jar “can contaminate a tonne of paper and make it unmarketable — destined for the dump. Same for that glob of yogurt left in the bottom of the container.”

What Should and Shouldn’t Be Going in Your Blue Bin

What belongs or doesn’t belong in a blue bin can cause a lot of confusion. It is mostly understood that the blue bin is where containers and paper belong, but the problem is not every container or paper product belongs there.

When trying to decide whether to put a piece of trash in a garbage can or into your blue bin, here are a couple of questions you can consider to aid in your decision:

What belongs or doesn’t belong in a blue bin can cause a lot of confusion. It is mostly understood that the blue bin is where containers and paper belong, but the problem is not every container or paper product belongs there.

When trying to decide whether to put a piece of trash in a garbage can or into your blue bin, here are a couple of questions you can consider to aid in your decision:

Is it breakable? If you can break it with your hands, it should go in the garbage. Items like light bulbs or ceramic items do not belong in your blue bin. Try turning them into a mosaic instead but, if a glass item breaks, you could be putting a waste management employee at risk of an injury or cause a whole load of potentially recyclable items to be sent to the dump instead.

Is it dirty or wet? Putting food or wet objects into your blue bin contaminates the system. Damp cardboard or food containers that have not be washed out cannot be used – once again, they will go to the dump.

Can it be ripped? Paper plates, styrofoam, plastic bags, and candy wrappers do not belong in a recycling bin. These kinds of plastics and paper products cannot be recycled because such products are made from a mixture of different materials that make recycling them difficult and expensive.

Is the bottle hazardous or unmarked? Unmarked bottles and empty motor oil bottles are considered hazardous materials and should never enter your blue bin.

If you are every unsure as to whether something can be recycled or not, don’t be shy about looking it up. If you are going to recycle, do your best to do it right.

As a side note, always remember to wash out your recyclables and dry them after. You should always recycle containers without their lids.

For a complete list of what to recycle click here.

Recycling Tips and Tricks

  • Consider the four R’s of waste reduction (reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot).
  • Become familiar with what is acceptable to put in your recycling bin.
  • Find apps and online resources to use if you need a quick answer to whether something can be recycled or not. You might also find it helpful to print off some reference sheets to keep on your fridge, in your workspace, and above your blue bin. Always ensure that you provide clear and visible guidelines to help those you live or work with recycle right.
  • Flatten cardboard boxes, cans, and plastic containers.
  • The most common misconception is that disposable coffee cups belong in your blue bin, but they belong in the garbage. The best thing you can do is invest in a reusable cup but if you do find yourself with a paper cup, make sure it goes into the garbage. These cups are lined with either plastic or wax that makes them useless. The lids that they come with also have to go into the trash.

For more information on recycling, contact Red Bins at 416-733-2467 today or click here to visit our website!

15 Good Reasons to Go Green

Among other factors, climate change is a problem that has people everywhere talking about the importance of “going green.” While some of the most commonly cited reasons people are pushing for lifestyle changes include saving the oceans or reducing the amount of garbage in landfills, many more tangible reasons for going green can significantly improve your day-to-day life.

Taking a moment out of your day to understand these reasons will surely inspire you to contribute toward making the world a cleaner place. Below are fifteen reasons why you should go green today.

Best reasons for starting go green initiative

1. Increase the value of your home

“Going green” could significantly increase the value of your home. An article from Green Home Builder states that “in the last couple of years going ‘green’ has become the growing trend in the real estate industry and will only increase in the years to come.” The reason for this shift is that environmentally-friendly homes are in increasing demand and receive premium prices on the market. Therefore, updating to energy saving appliances or water-saving toilets and showers will not only save you money, but add equity to your home if you ever sell.

2. Energy costs savings

Updating your home will also significantly decrease monthly utility bills. If you live in Ontario, or many other provinces in Canada, another perk you can benefit from is that the government offers rebates for those who decide to make significant environmentally friendly renovations to their homes. According to an article from CBC, “the province will offer thousands of dollars in rebates for homeowners who opt for energy-efficient renovations, including windows and insulation.”

3. Durability

Eco-friendly materials are known for their durability over newly souped materials. Because recycled products last longer than traditional materials, when you go green, you can look forward to saving money while maintaining your home.

4. Improve your health

Going green is not only good for the planet, but it can also significantly impact your personal health in a positive way. When you choose to live sustainable you will, by default, eat healthy, local food, ride your bike or walk more places, and remove yourself from a consumer to a more holistic lifestyle.

5. For your kid’s future

When you care for the environment, you are, in turn, caring for your children and loved ones by giving them the chance at a cleaner and more sustainable future.

6. Recycling helps you to be more creative

Not only do you save energy and money when you go green, but you have the opportunity to get creative making useful items out of recycled materials. Have fun repurposing broken items into garden ordainments. Make a wind-chime or mosaic out of old bottles, broken plates, and other odds and ends.

7. Breathe healthy oxygen

When you go green you will discover that there are many ways to reduce emissions and help prevent air pollution. Using alternative energy sources (like riding your bike or using public transit) produce little to no emissions and therefore improve health and have less environmental impact.

8. Become self-sufficient

Going green makes you less reliant on consumer products. You will become more self-sufficient and find that you start to invent ways to make your life more sustainable.

9. Eat green

Eating green means eating local, eating organic, and purchasing seasonal products. When you buy and eat organic food and dairy products, you not only boost your local economy, but you reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

10. Reduce carbon emissions

When you choose a green mode of transportation, either by carpooling or public transit, you decrease your carbon footprint. Using less number of vehicles on roads means less pollution in air and less money spent on gasoline and car maintenance.

11. End deforestation and habitat loss

Going green makes you less selfish and more focused on replanting forests, protecting endangered animals, and putting an end to industrial agriculture.

12. Green products are less toxic

Most green products focus on including natural ingredients. When you choose to use traditional products, think of all those chemicals that enter your body

13. Increase in business if product is eco-friendly

If you are a business owner, going green can help you to attract more customers. Like you, there are many people who are looking to change their lives. If you decide to provide eco-friendly products and services for your customers, business will boom.

14. Going green will make you an ambassador for change

By going green, you have the opportunity to inspire others toward change. Lead by example in whatever environment you live and work. Your actions will speak for themselves as you pass on environmentally positive habits to everyone you meet.

15. Feel happy

There is a lot of evidence that suggests that living a more altruistic lifestyle is linked to happiness. Choosing to live sustainably makes you more connected with your environment. A statistic from a study done by The Centre for New American Dream says “90% of people who said they had downshifted their lives were happy with their decision.”

Going green can make a significant difference in your life. The best thing you can do is start with one simple thing you would like to change, and watch your passion for change grow.

For more information on going green, contact Red Bins at 416-733-2467 today or contact us here

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