Before you place your blue bins at the curb this winter or use the blue recycling carts at your building, take a moment to understand what you should and should not recycle. After your recyclables leave your home, there are a number of processes that they go through from collection to sorting. Proper recycling saves time at the recycling centre and avoids costly problems.
Follow these tips to make recycling more beneficial for everyone.
1. Put gift wrap and bags in the trash can.
Paper items coated with plastic or foil and contain coloured dyes are not recyclable. When mixed with newsprint and other paper, they cause big problems for the paper mills.
2. Flatten your boxes
With the extra volume of recycling during the holidays, recycling trucks need all the space they can get. Break down, flatten and bundle your cardboard boxes with string or stack them flattened in your recycling bin.
3. Avoid “wishcycling.”
Just because you “wish” you could recycle something, doesn’t mean you can. Here are some items that should stay out of the recycle bin.
- Clementine boxes
- Ribbons, bows, and decorations
- Plastic toys
- Styrofoam™ and bubble wrap
- Paper napkins, towels, and soiled paper plates. (For an experienced home composter, paper napkins & towels can be added to a home composter unit)
4. Help sort it right
When you take the time to sort your recyclables into 'paper' and 'containers,' it reduces the City's sorting costs and makes sure the end markets will accept the materials. Things like take-out coffee cups, milk cartons, and juice boxes often end up in the wrong bin. Here's a tip to help you sort it right: If you can drink out of it, it's a container.
5. Plastic bags are not the kind of plastic we're looking for
Do not place plastics bags in your recycling bins. Remember to only take a plastic bag if necessary, and to reuse them as many times as you can. Locate a retail store that has a take-back program for bags. Or place plastic bags in the garbage. When plastic bags are placed in your recycling bins, they clog up the recycling system. With all the spinning parts at the recycling centre, plastic bags get wound up in the equipment and can shut down operations.
6. Avoid putting containers on snow banks
Help keep collection crews safe and place blue bins and containers on level ground within one metre of the curb.
7. Download the Recycle Coach app to help answer what goes where in our recycling program
Recycle Coach also includes personalized collection calendars, information on London’s recycling program, and collection reminders all accessible from your phone or device.