The Good: Simply put, recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. This is a great technique that helps us to divert tonnes of waste from landfills each year! Each year, new technologies allow us to recycle materials that we couldn’t recycle before. This helps us to meet our waste diversion goals.
The Bad: However, it’s important to recognize that many of these recycled items (like plastic bottles and plastic packaging) could be eliminated entirely if we avoid buying these products in the first place. Recycling is an important part of the waste management conversation, but it is not the first or only part! Learn more about reducing your waste here.
The Ugly: One of the major challenges with recycling is sorting items. If we don’t sort our recyclables correctly, these items will “contaminate” the recycling stream and result in additional sorting at the processing stage. This is costly - it can cost taxpayers up to $250,000 per year when we don’t sort it right.
These aren’t happy stats, but they are important to know as we strive to reduce waste and protect the environment. If you want to learn more about how you can tackle plastic pollution, visit our “Reducing Your Waste” blog post!
This is a good question to ask yourself before you put an item in your recycle bin. For example, egg cartons and toilet paper rolls make great seedling starter pots. Sauce and salsa jars can be washed and reused to store bulk ingredients (which you can refill at stores like Bulk Barn and Bulk Barrel). Large plastic pop bottles can be turned into bird feeders. For each item you want to recycle, there is at least one way to repurpose it. So do a Google search and find ways to transform your waste!
If you aren’t the crafty type, another option is to see if other stores, recycling services, or even neighbours will accept them. The City of London has put together a handy guide of places that accept items (in addition to their EnviroDepots. Click here for the pdf guide.
Put waste in its proper place! The Recycle Coach App makes it easy to learn how to sort your garbage and recycling to prevent contaminated recycling. Simply type in the item you are looking to sort, and the app will tell you where it goes. Visit the Recycle Coach here.
Did you know that not all waste items can be collected curbside? Certain household waste items (like hazardous waste, electronics, furniture and mattresses, lightbulbs, batteries, etc.) should be dropped off at EnviroDepots so they can be properly disposed of and recycled if possible.
In addition to accepting waste, the EnviroDepots can help you reduce your waste! Pick up a compost bin, recycling bins, woodchips, mulch, and soil/compost mixes (at certain sites). You can purchase a compost bin at subsidized prices (as low as $35!) at the City’s EnviroDepots.
Click here to learn more about EnviroDepots and their locations. Please note the COVID-19 Service Update.
The Material Recovery Facility is where our recyclables like metal cans and plastic bottles are sorted and processed. Take a virtual tour of London’s Recycling Centre from home! Click here to take the virtual tour.