Recycling is something just about everyone does, but Kingston Area Recycling Centre says not everyone is doing it right.
Glass and plastic containers, along with metal tins, need to be washed out before they’re tossed in the bin.
That’s something Tobi Payant says she does impeccably. “They’re washed out probably as well as my kitchen dishes.”
Yet some items can be a challenge to clean before tossing, like peanut butter containers. Peter Brittain says some of those jars may be less than pristine when he puts them in his blue box. “I will admit that with peanut butter, and stuff that are really sticky, we don’t always get them clean.”
Understandable, perhaps. But also problematic, says the Kingston Area Recycling Centre. The centre handles about 11,500 of tonnes of material each year, says Heather Roberts, solid waste manager. “We get your recycling, and we market it. It goes back out to people that can turn it into new products.”
About five per cent of the materials the centre collects are too dirty to market, so it ends up in a land fill.
That may not sound too bad — until you convert it to tonnes. Roberts says it’s substantial. “About 500 tonnes per year of what we receive into this facility ends up going back out to landfill.”
Those materials have to be sorted out manually. If too many dirty items get through, Roberts says the recyclables can end up being sent back to the municipal recycling centre. “That extra work costs a lot of money.”
Roberts says there are really only two options when it comes to the contaminated containers.
“If you don’t want to be using water and soap to clean it out, then my suggestion, unfortunately, is to put the container into the garbage,” Roberts says.
Not ideal but it does save the recycling centre time and money.