There’s nothing quite like ending a summer day on the dock, the sun nestled into the tree line, water quietly lapping against the shore, a beer and a bag of chips in hand. Sounds relaxing. But after pouring those final chip-bag crumbs into your mouth, the wrapper gets tossed into the garbage and eventually shipped to the landfill where it sits for years.
Flexible plastic packaging, like chip bags and zip lock bags, are notoriously difficult to recycle because they’re made up of different types of plastics that aren’t easily broken down.
According to the CBC, however, Recycle B.C. has developed a program where they will collect these types of bags at 116 locations across the province. Although many of the products still can’t be recycled, Allen Langdon, the managing director of Recycle B.C., told the CBC they will be conducting research to figure out how to best recycle flexible plastic packaging.
Inspired by Recycle B.C.’s effort to clean up the province’s landfills, we wanted to contribute as well. So, we got in touch with Mark Brohm, the landfill manager for the municipality of Dysart et al, Ont., to give us some tips on recycling while at the cottage.
Clean your recyclables
They don’t have to be spotless, but Brohm says items like peanut butter jars that still have some residual peanut butter at the bottom can’t be recycled. “It becomes landfill,” he says. So, make sure you give containers and cans a rinse before tossing them out.
Sort it out
The last thing you want to be doing is standing at your local landfill on a sweltering summer day, the smell of someone’s long-ago leftovers heating up, as you sort your papers from your glass. Brohm says you should sort your recyclables before you come to the landfill site. If you’re not sure how to appropriately separate items, give your local municipality a call. They’re happy to help.
Don’t over buy
Sure, 10 cans of tuna for a dollar is a great deal, but are you really going to eat all of it? Recycling starts at the store, Brohm says. Don’t be suckered in by sales deals that leave food items sitting in your cupboard all summer until they’re finally thrown out. Reduce your amount of recycling by only buying what you need.
Check for special dates
On specific days, landfills will collect and dispose of certain items, like hazardous materials. If you have a more unique item to get rid of, check the landfill’s calendar or give them a call to see when the best date is to dispose of something.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Unsure where your old chair should go? Don’t just throw it into a random bin and peel out of there. If you aren’t sure where an item goes, ask one of the landfill attendants. They’re there to help.