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How many times can your waste be recycled?

👌 Tip Tuesday 👌

These materials are commonly found around the house! Read about their ♻️ and tips below!

Plastics

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.

♻️ Tips:

  • 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.

 

Papers

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.

♻️ Tips:

  • 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.

 

Aluminums

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.

♻️ Tips:

  • Make sure all food and beverage residue is washed off.
  • Ball and flatten together the aluminum products.

 

Glass

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.

♻️ Tips:

  • 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. 

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