We were invited to a visit of our local recycling center (KARC) through the Canadian Association Of Girls In Science (CAGIS) the other day. I am assuming this was organized with Earth Day in mind which took place the day before.
It was impressive to see the prolific amounts of garbage being processes as recyclables – paper, box board, card board, glass, plastic, metal aluminium and even styrofoam as well as tetra paks.
It does turn out though, that the recycling centre is generally not able to turn a profit after selling off the sorted materials, even though they are sold mostly locally and don’t need to be shipped off around the world. Especially styrofoam is very expensive to be re-used.
We were also reminded that proper sorting and cleaning items to go into recycling is important. Tetra paks go into the paper bin. Butcher paper and parchment paper go into compost. Leave twist lids on tetra paks – they are hard to sort manually because of their small size. Paper and plastic bags go in the same bin as it is cleaner and less likely to contaminate the plastic as then it would not be sellable. Yucky Nutella or peanut butter jars can’t be recycled. Same with yoghurt containers.
Most of all it did remind us though to keep in mind when purchasing things that less packaging is better. Not all recyclable materials actually do get recycled, lots of them end up in landfill after all.