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Tips for Recycling Plastic

First: Reduce Your Plastic Footprint

Carry a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water.
Carry a reusable shopping bag - keep one in your purse and several in your car so you always have one handy.
Try not to buy produce that is packaged in plastic and buy in bulk when possible. Bring your own reusable produce sacks to the grocery store or bring your own bin so you don't even need produce bags.
Shop in stores that will let you refill containers or bring your own container. Material to be sorted.
Find out what kind of plastics are recycled in your area, and try to only purchase products in packaging that is accepted in your curbside programme or that are part of a deposit return programme. For example, buy eggs and berries in cardboard cartons because they are made from recycled paper and are fully recyclable. Let manufacturers know that you are not buying their product because of the packaging.
Bring your own containers for take-out food or make sure that the containers provided are recyclable in your area. If you're eating your take-out at home, remind them not to include plastic utensils.
Request that your daily newspaper not be wrapped in plastic when delivered or cancel the subscription and get your news online.
Carry a reusable coffee mug with you, or at least separate your paper coffee cup from the plastic lid. The lid goes in the garbage and the cup goes in the recycling bin. If they're left together the whole thing is likely to go to landfill. Skip the lid for your soft drink and then you don't even need a plastic straw.
Leave a set of cutlery at work and use it for lunches instead of disposable plastic cutlery.
Leave excess packaging in the store, or return it to the store.
Use toothbrushes that have replaceable heads.
Don't throw anything away that can be reused or repaired.
Don't litter. You don't want your plastic trash clogging up sewers and floating in the waterways or stuck high up in your backyard tree.
And speak up about these ideas! The more retailers, manufacturers and restaurants hear about your concerns and about possible alternatives, the more likely they will be to make changes in the way they do business.

Tips for Plastics Recyling

Separate materials: different types of plastics, metal caps from plastic, plastic from paper (for example: a case of water bottles wrapped in plastic with a cardboard tray on the bottom - separate the different plastics and paper. If you don't the whole thing will go to landfill). People at the sorting plants don't have time to separate materials.
Don't put anything in your blue box that your municipality hasn't asked for - if you don't know if it goes in, check with your municipality. If you put unwanted material out for recycling, it just takes a more costly route to landfill, and costs you more as a taxpayer for them to sort it out and send it to the dump.
Only put clean materials into the bin. Think about the people on the sorting lines who have to manually sort through the materials.

Basic Plastic Recyling Facts

Even if your municipality accepts all plastics, that doesn't mean all plastics are being recycled. The logic is that they will get more of the valuable plastics and it is less confusing for people. They are shipping the plastics they don't have markets for locally (basically everything other than bottles in #1,#2) to Asia or it's going to landfill in Canada.
One reason that plastic recycling is difficult is that many different types of plastic resins are used in consumer packaging and they are also often mixed together on the same container. Each plastic behaves differently when you try to recycle it, and some plastics can't be recycled at all. All the different resins and shapes have to be baled separately for recycling.
Municipalities need to get the highest prices they can for their plastics in order to cover some of the huge costs of collection and sorting. The cleanest, purest bales are the most valuable. But these days it is even hard to sell the most recyclable plastics at a good price because the price of oil has gone down and virgin plastic is cheaper to use. Municipalities are struggling to get rid of their sorted plastic.
Plastics are light in weight, but big in volume and many of our landfills are now volume-based (not weight-based). Plastic products contribute 7 per cent by weight and 30 per cent by volume to municipal solid waste.

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