How many times can your waste be recycled?
👌 Tip Tuesday 👌
These materials are commonly found around the house! Read about their ♻️ and tips below!
Plastic (polymer) material is arguably the least recyclable. Plastics can only be recycled successfully, if at all, 2-3 times. The quality of the plastic drastically reduces - broken down to smaller polymer chains - with each recycle. Ex: food-grade plastics —> article of clothing —> maybe a lawn chair. Note: Plastics cannot be 100% recycled material because they need reinforcement material aka mix in new plastic.
- Make sure all food residue is washed off when putting into recycling bins. One soiled container can keep the whole bin from recycling.
- Do not bag plastics, put them out loose into your bin.
- In Toronto, black plastic is not recyclable and goes to the garbage bins, however, styrofoam can be recycled.
The highest-grade paper is printer paper and it can be recycled 5-7 times —> toiler paper and cardboard boxes. This also means that paper products can be made of 100% recycled content. With every recycling process, the fibres will become shorter which means virgin fibres will need to be mixed in eventually.
- Avoid any wax or plastic lined products (ex: cereal boxes can have wax lining inside).
- Shredded paper and items smaller than a business card should be tied closed in a bag or envelope.
- Remove any foil, glitter/plastic and food-soiled parts as this would contaminate the bin.
Aluminum is the most recycled and recyclable material on earth and maintains the same physical and mechanical properties after each recycling process. A lot of the aluminium produced is still around today. Ex: beverage cans, aluminum foil, chip bags and baking trays in your kitchen.
- Make sure all food and beverage residue is washed off.
- Ball and flatten together the aluminum products.
Glass can be recycled an infinite number of times as well and can retain the original colour. Ontario recycles about 63% (2003) of the glass from recycling bins. They can also be sterilized well and does not risk melting or leaching - ideal for multiple uses of the same product.
- Shop products in glass containers instead of plastic whenever possible, food to household goods.
- Find retailers that accept bottle returns.
- Note: pyrex and heat-resistant glass is not recyclable and can contaminate the recycling stream.
For more information, visit your town/city or municipality to see whats excepted in your recycling bins and how to sort them properly.