Tip of the Week: Sorting

Tip of the week

I used to really resent all the steps in recycling.
Rinse out the container, remove the lid, remove the label, flatten, put in proper receptacle, etc.
None of these steps are really that hard, but it just seemed as though it was counterintuitive. I mean, if you want people to recycle, you should make it easier for them, not harder. Right?

But there is a reason for all the steps behind recycling….And it’s not just to annoy you.
It’s important to separate the pieces properly (which includes removing the cap from bottles, not putting recyclables into a bag, and avoiding nestling) because many containers are all made of different materials.

So you may have a glass bottle, but the lid could be metal with a rubber ring.
If those materials are not properly sorted, the end buyer of materials will return them to the recycling plant as “rejected” because the pallet of #5 plastics delivered to them has 30% of other materials mixed in.

Meaning they can’t use the raw product to downcycle* or recycle (eg: make railroad ties from plastic bottles). If the plastic bottles being recycled are covered with bits of paper, it would reduce the quality of the material and undermine the efforts of those trying to reuse those products.

Of all the recyclable materials we throw out, approximately 40% make it to the recycling plant and FIVE PERCENT actually get recycled.
So do what you can to help, will ya? Take off that darn label and remove that lid.

The city has already have provided the recycling plant, the bins, the pickup service, and the steps on how to do your part.

So please just do it.


But if you are moaning about how you can’t possibly be bothered, there is an easier way.

The easiest way to reduce your impact on the environment is to reduce.

Wanting less, needing less, using less, consuming less.

In North America, we generally have so much more than we could every possibly need. It’s very fortunate.

And very wasteful.

The best way to curb your impact on the environment is to just stop buying. You will get a different sort of satisfaction from not consuming. Saving money. Helping the environment. Making a responsible decision.

So if you don’t want to recycle, that’s fine. Just don’t produce anything to be recycled in the first place.



  • If you’re confused about recycling, upcycling, and downcycling, you can get more easy to understand info from Greenpare
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