Did you know that there are wrong ways to recycle? It’s true. Small misconceptions and mistakes can cancel out your environmentally conscious efforts. Find out what these misconceptions and mistakes are so that you can guarantee that everything in your blue bin actually belongs there.
1. Electronics Can’t Go in the Blue Bin
You know that electronics are made with metal, and the blue bin accepts metal items like steel cans and aluminum trays, so it’s easy to assume that they belong in there. But you can’t put electronic waste in the blue bin. You can’t put it in the trash can, either. E-waste contains hazardous materials that can contaminate the surrounding environment if they’re not handled properly.
The good news is that they can still be recycled. You just have to go to the right place. You can go to a facility like the Canada Iron scrap yard to get your electronic waste safely and effectively recycled. This scrap metal yard is a licensed member of the Ontario Electronic Stewardship Program (OES), a not-for-profit organization that works to divert electronics from landfills and recycle valuable resources without causing significant harm to the environment. So, you know it’s a legitimate and trusted facility.
2. Most Coffee Cups Aren’t Recyclable
Did you know that most disposable coffee cups should stay far away from the blue bin? They’re commonly thought of as recyclable because they’re made of paper. But most coffee cups are lined in a thin plastic or wax film so that they can safely hold hot liquids without leaking or getting soggy. The liners make them impossible to recycle.
So, the next time that you drain your cappuccino to-go, you should fight your instincts and toss the empty disposable coffee cup into the trash bin. You can throw out the cardboard sleeve and the plastic lid in the recycling — unless the lid is made out of black plastic. Then that goes in the garbage, too.
3. You Have to Rinse Out Food Containers
Aluminum cans, steel cans, paper bread bags, glass jars, foam cartons and clear plastic containers can all be recyclable. The only thing that stops them from being recycled is food residue left inside of those containers. This food waste can contaminate the recyclables sent to the municipal facility, forcing a lot of salvageable items to be removed and placed into a landfill.
You don’t want the mostly empty yogurt tubs or greasy pizza boxes that you added to the bin to ruin the recycling process. So, before you toss any food containers into the blue bin, you should give them a thorough rinse.
It will take a bit more effort for items like peanut butter jars — one of the biggest culprits for food contamination — but it’s still a simple fix. Fill the jar halfway with warm water and then add a drop of dish soap. Let it sit for a minute, then screw on the lid and shake it. Then dump out the soapy water and rinse it out. That will make it clean enough for the blue bin.
You don’t have to make these mistakes ever again. You can recycle the right way from now on!