DID YOU KNOW? People who ‘recycle’ these 3 items cost Dufferin County taxpayers money
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Can you spot which items don't belong in your blue bin? Dufferin County reports items being incorrectly placed in blue bins costs taxpayers about $22,000 a year. - Chris Halliday/Metroland
Styrofoam, takeout cups and lids and plastic bags are “garbage” in Dufferin County. If you’re "recycling" these items, your blue bins are costing taxpayers money.
It isn’t a large number, but Dufferin County reports items being incorrectly placed in the blue bin cost about $22,000 a year. Here is why you're being asked to keep your blue bins free from these three.
Blue box materials collected at your curb are sent to a facility where they are sorted and sold to companies that use the recyclables as raw materials. Unfortunately, county officials say, the market for No. 6 polystyrene, or Styrofoam, isn’t very strong.
The nature of this material, being very light and often dirty from holding foods, makes it challenging and not cost-effective for manufacturers to turn it into new products. So, unfortunately, your No. 6 polystyrene/Styrofoam must go into the garbage.
• TAKEOUT CUPS AND LIDS
Much like Styrofoam, there isn’t a viable end market for takeout coffee cups. Paper coffee cups have a plastic lining that makes it difficult for recyclers to process. Paper markets don’t want them because the lining is a contaminant.
Meanwhile, plastic markets aren’t interested because the quantity of plastic is small and it is difficult to separate from the paper. With that in mind, technologies change, and a new market may develop in the future.
• PLASTIC BAGS
Plastic bags and wrap, also called “plastic film,” is another problematic material to recycle. While some municipalities accept these materials in their recycling programs, Dufferin County does not.
Please place all plastic bags — even if they have a recycling symbol on them — and plastic wrap (e.g. plastic wrap around water bottle cases, etc.) into the garbage.
WHERE DOES YOUR RECYCLING GO?
Once you place your recyclables at the curb, Green For Life, which is contracted to collect waste in Dufferin County, transports them to a materials recovery facility.
At that facility, recyclables are sorted into useful categories such as aluminum, cardboard, PET plastic and more. The materials are then compressed and sold as bales.
Companies such as Feversham-based Ice River Springs, which has a recycling facility in Shelburne, purchase these bales and use them to produce their own containers.
RELATED: Bottle caps to Adirondack chairs? Ice River Springs shows G7 leaders what 27,000 caps can make
THERE IS AN APP FOR ALL THIS
Unsure which bin certain items should go in? Try searching for the county’s Which Bin tool. It’s available online at dufferincounty.ca/waste. To download the Dufferin Waste app, visit itunes.apple.com.
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Want local news, letters to the editor, opinion pieces and information about community events sent directly to you? Sign up here for our daily newsletter delivered to your inbox at 7 a.m., seven days a week.• STYROFOAM• TAKEOUT CUPS AND LIDS• PLASTIC BAGSWHERE DOES YOUR RECYCLING GO?RELATEDTHERE IS AN APP FOR ALL THISWant local news, letters to the editor, opinion pieces and information about community events sent directly to you? Sign up here for our daily newsletter delivered to your inbox at 7 a.m., seven days a week.