Recycle like you mean it: More recycling do’s and don’ts

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Did you know that not all recyclable materials are recyclable in Manitoba? You read that right. That recycle symbol on the bottom of your black take-out food container doesn’t mean that you should put it in your recycle bin. In fact, mixing stuff not meant for recycling makes the process of sorting items more tedious for those at the city’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). These also lessen the value of the recycling loads, making it more possible that they will end up in a landfill.

Recycling do’s and don’ts

Teresa Looy with the Green Action Centre explains some of the mistakes in recycling, CBC News.

What can you put in the blue bin?

Generally these are accepted:

  1. Paper – Newspapers and flyers, paper directories, magazines and catalogues (but not books).
  2. Cardboard – Boxboards, corrugated cardboards, milk or juice containers (gable-top and aseptic containers)
  3. Aluminum and steel food and beverage containers
  4. Glass food and beverage containers
  5. Specific plastic food and beverage containers:
    • PET#1 food and beverage containers
    • HDPE #2 plastic containers (examples: plastic disinfectant bottles, window cleaner bottles or detergent or liquid soap bottles)
    • #4 #5 and #7 plastic containers

To find out more about the recycling program in your community, go to this Recycling Guide and use the drop-down menu to find the area where you belong. You will find a list of materials that are acceptable for recycling in your area.

What are some common items that don’t belong in your recyclable bin?

  1. Plastic bags – Many retailers however, will accept your used plastic bags. Here’s a list of retailers. If you still using plastic bags, remember to reuse them or better yet, bring your own cloth bags when buying groceries and other items to lessen plastic use.
  2. Styrofoam or foam packaging of any kind
  3. Old clothes and toys – It will be better to give these to charity or your local second-hand store so they can be cleaned and reused.
  4. Batteries, electronics and ink cartridges – These items are recyclable but they should be sent directly to local collection sites. Go to Recycle Manitoba to find the right collection site nearest you.

Here is a list of all the materials you should not put in the recycle bin: Unaccepted materials.

Other helpful recycling tips

  1. Make sure that containers are empty – Liquids and food waste can contaminate other items in your blue bin. These can cause the development of mold and unpleasant odours. Contaminated materials will then have to go into the garbage pile. To make sure that they will be recycled, empty bottles and cans and give them a quick rinse before tossing into the bin.
  2. Fold boxes – Flatten boxes before putting them in. This will save space and allow you to fit more materials in your bin.
  3. Toss items in loosely – You don’t have to group items or put them in a bag. Sorters will get these bags and toss them in the garbage. Also, don’t put items inside other items. It will be harder for them to see each object and sort them correctly.
  4. Bring items to Winnipeg 4R depot – If you have too many items to fit in the recyclable bin, bring them directly to a local 4R depot. This will be ideal especially if you have household items, electronics, tires, ceramics or scrap metal that you need to dispose.
  5. Close the lid – Close the lid of your blue bin for collection. Don’t put other bags or items on top the cart or place it near other items – it can be refused by trucks and your bin will not be emptied.

By following these guidelines and tips, you can help make it easier for MRF staff to do their jobs and ensure that your recycling efforts will be more effective.
Sources: Simply; Winnipeg recycling facility can take more – but not all items thrown in blue bin are welcome, Sean Kavanagh, CBC News and Winnipeg, you’re recycling wrong: Common misconceptions about what can go in blue bins, CBC News.

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