Did you know that recycling contamination costs Canada millions of dollars each year? Contamination is the term for non-recyclable material that ends up in the recycling system, from leftover food in containers to non-recyclable plastic packaging to more obvious garbage such as clothing and propane tanks. Whether it’s due to confusion, wishful thinking, or just plain laziness, a lot of non-recyclable items are ending up in our blue bins.
Contamination turns otherwise recyclable items into garbage, meaning the material cannot be sold to offset the cost of the recycling program. Depending on the source of the contamination, it can also mean the whole recycling plant needs to be shut down and sanitized – a very costly procedure.
So what can we do cut down on contamination? Knowing what is recyclable in your municipality is a good start, but how you get things prepped to go in the recycling bin is also important. check out these tips and tricks you can use to keep your recycling going where it should..
To avoid contamination
Make sure all containers are fully rinsed out before tossing them in the blue bin – food remnants are a major source of contamination
Cardboard needs to be flattened before going into the recycling bin.
Any cardboard soiled with food residue or grease (pizza boxes, we're looking at you) can't be recycled. It can go in the compost or garbage depending on your municipality
You don't need to remove the labels from cans or bottles (unless you're a real eager beaver and want to recycle that paper too!) they'll be burned off in the recycling process.
If a bottle or jar has a lid made of a different material, remove it for separate recycling.
But if it's all plastic, keep the lid on the bottle. Otherwise those little lids can lost.
Make sure to check your municipality's website for more info on what can and can't be recycled in your area, and help keep contamination out of the recycling stream!