RECYCLING: Noble effort only if done the right way
THE statement "Think before you throw" is impossible to miss when you come across any recycling bin. There is a sign board that clearly states what kind of waste should go into which bin.
The blue bin is for paper, the brown for glass and the orange for plastic, aluminium and steel cans. The bins even have pictures to indicate what kind of waste should go into which bin. How is it possible then to find paper in the orange bin and glass in the blue one?
Making an effort to recycle is a good thing, but how about recycling the right way?
Another statement hard to miss is, "these bins are for recyclable items only". How then do soiled napkins and used diapers qualify as recyclable items?
We are lucky enough to be provided with recycling bins, making it convenient for us. In fact, more and more recycling bins are turning up everywhere.
Unfortunately, many people aren't aware that there is a right and a wrong way to recycle. Broken glass, for example, is difficult to sort from paper, cans and plastics. Once these materials have been mixed up with broken glass, everything has to be thrown out.
Even something like a greasy pizza box with cheese or food residue stuck on it can ruin an entire load of paper or cardboard for recycling.
Greasy or wax-coated papers must be thrown in the garbage instead of recycling bins. Before tossing cans into the bin for recycling, rinse the cans thoroughly to remove all traces of food. Food particles attract flies and other animals, and food contaminants can ruin a batch for recycling.
The same thing applies to milk cartons: the smell of sour milk from a used milk carton is pretty nasty, plus it can attract feral animals and flies.
Cardboards are also quite popular in the recycling field and should be flattened for easy pickup. Do not include cardboards that are greasy (such as pizza or doughnut boxes) or wax coated.
How can you tell if the cardboard is wax coated? Simple. Just scratch your finger over the surface and if you see wax under your fingernails, it means the cardboard needs to be tossed in the garbage.
The biggest contaminant found in recycling bins seems to be plastic bags. Many folk properly sort their recycling materials, but then use a plastic bag to dispose of the recyclables. Others simply drop plastic into glass or paper bins out of laziness.
Whether you toss your recyclables into the recycling bins or bring them to a centre, there are some basic rules that should be followed.
Following these tips reduces bad odour and keeps animals away from recycling bins. But most importantly, it will prevent perfectly good recyclables from ending up in the landfill, which is the reason we recycle in the first place.