By now, we’ve all got the basics down on recycling – paper, aluminum cans, certain plastics and glass bottles can go in your recycling bin, food scraps and disposable masks do not. But there are a number of things that we use in our lives that might have you scratching your head. Here’s handy guide to some unusual items that can be recycled – and some that are trash.
- Soiled containers: Every year, countless tonnes of recyclables end up in landfill because they got contaminated in transit from your bin to the local recycling depot. Greasy pizza boxes should go in the compost bin if your municipality allows it, otherwise they go in the garbage. Food containers should be emptied and rinsed before you recycle them.
- Plastic wrap: While many plastics are recyclable, food wrap is not. Neither is bubble wrap, the liner bags from cereal boxes and cookies or anything labelled compostable or biodegradable.
- Glass and ceramics: While glass bottles for food and beverages are recyclable, many types of glass are not. This includes drinking glasses, window glass and mirrors. Plates and other ceramics are also not recyclable in municipal programs. If you have dishes you no longer need that aren’t broken, consider donating them to a thrift store.
- Food and garden waste: As mentioned, food waste should never end up in recycling bins where it can contaminate recyclables. But food and yard waste can be recycled into compost. If your municipality doesn’t have a composting program, consider buying a backyard composter to dispose of those materials. At the end of the season, you’ll have some nutrient-rich compost for your plants and garden.
- Electronics: While things like electronics and dead batteries do not typically get picked up curbside, they are recyclable. Most municipalities have depots where you can drop them off. Some electronics retailers also have collection programs.
- Smoke-free products: Many of us are using smoke-free products as an alternative to smoking. When they’re finished, they do not go into the recycling bin – but they also shouldn’t go into landfill. Instead, vaping devices, pods and accessories can be recycled and safely disposed of through the free national Smoke-Free Recycling Program.
Learn more about how to recycle uncommon items, include vaping materials, terracycle.com/en-ca/brigades/smoke-free-en.ca