The Do’s and Don’ts of Recycling

Today the world's population stands at a whopping 7.4 Billion and still growing. Currently each human being adds a significant amount of waste to the planet over his or her lifetime. This waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment as harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites. Roughly 20 per cent of Canada's methane emissions (a greenhouse gas that traps more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide) come from landfills. Habitat destruction and global warming are some of the dramatic effects caused by deforestation and the excessive need for raw materials. Huge amounts of energy are then used when making products from these raw materials and our natural resources are diminishing.

Up to 60% of the trash that ends up in the garbage bin is recyclable and as much as 50% of this waste can be composted. Recycling is incredibly important to the survival of our planet and an excellent way of saving energy, preserving our natural resources and conserving our environment for generations to come.

Did you know that:

- Around 16% of the cost of a product is spent on its packaging which is completely wasted if not disposed of properly.

- 80% of a vehicle can be recycled.

- Aluminum cans can be recycled completely and put to use in a short time.

- Thousands of glass jars and bottles are thrown away every day.

- Glass can be recycled 100% and reused.

- Glass products which end up in landfills do not decompose at all.

- It has been observed that 24 trees are cut down to make one ton of paper.

- Plastics, which can often be recycled, take around 500 years to decompose.

- 1 recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours.

- 1 recycled glass bottle would save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.

- 1 recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours.

- 70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – seems simple enough right? If you dont need it, don’t buy it. If you buy it, make sure you can reuse it. If you can't reuse it, recycle it. But when it comes down to recycling, many of us still find ourselves scratching our heads, perplexed. With three bins to choose from, seven different types of plastic and a whole bunch of confusing numbers and symbols, it's difficult to determine what goes where. 9 out of 10 people would recycle more if it were made easier, so Vitasave has compiled a list of recycling Do's and Dont's to help out.

Do's

- First things first – reduce your waste! Reducing the amount of waste we produce is by far the most effective way to reduce the flow of garbage into landfill. To be really effective,  incorporate the 3R’s

–Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle– into your daily routine.

- Be sure to flatten cardboard as much as possible. Flattened cardboard = less air = fewer pickups and lower costs!

- Rinse all containers until they’re spotless— like plastic juice/milk jugs, yogurt containers, sour cream containers, etc. It’s greener to consume or at least trash the food/drink/cleaning product in containers before recycling them. Excess debris in your recycling bin requires extra energy to clean and dispose of.

- Throw out the small lids on the plastic bottle  – some municipalities accept these lids so be sure to check beforehand.

- Recycle plastics! Many plastic containers include a 'mobius loop' triangle with a number inside that tells you what plastic the container is made of. You can match this to information your community provides about the plastics it collects for recycling.

Here’s a summary of current recycling opportunities for some of the most familiar items:

- Keep the lid of metal cans attached, folding them inside the can to cover the sharp edge left from the can opener.

- Recycle aluminum foil, trays and pie plates – Recycling aluminum saves more than 90 percent of the energy needed to make new aluminum and 90 percent of the energy that would be needed to create a comparable amount of the metal from raw materials. Foil is easy to wipe clean, you can REUSE it as much as possible and then recycle it once its time is up.

- Check if there are local options for recycling other types of glass, plastic or other materials that aren’t commonly recycled, but could be in your area. Every place is different.

- Recycle your Vitasave.ca box! As a forward thinking company, Vitasave is committed to working towards a less polluted environment. First, we went paperless and now we are happy to introduce our new kraft tape that is 100% recyclable which means less work for you and less waste for our environment, a cause that is very important to us. Not only is our packaging 100% recyclable but the kraft tape is stronger than conventional packing tape and comes in a great colour! You don’t even need to remove the tape before tossing your box in your recycling bin. Easy!

Dont's_

Now we know what we should be recycling, it is time to highlight the things that we definitely shouldn’t be putting in our bins! The following commonly misunderstood items do not belong in your blue box:

- Food or cling wrap/cellophane

- Prepackaged food bags (including frozen food bags and pre-washed salad bags)

- Plastic Film That has Been Painted or has Excessive Glue Residue

- Squeezy tubes (toothpaste containers/personal care products/squeezy tube sauces etc)

- Foam takeout containers. These are made of styrofoam, which is unfortunately not recyclable.

- Lightbulbs

- Laminated plastic (like the bags that chips and cookies come in)

- Used paper towels and coffee filters (these are recyclable clean, but if they’re dirty with food or drink from being used, toss them in your green bin).

 - Don’t:

Bag Your Recycling. Plastic bags can clog the sorting machines in a recycling plant, which then take time and money to unclog. Fight the urge to bag your recycling, and simply dump it from your bin into the collection bin, instead.

 - Don't:

Recycle Food - Compost it! Food is compostable, but not recyclable. Make sure and food cans, bottles, and containers are clean of all food residue before putting them into the recycling bin.

- Don’t:

Put Trash In the Recycling. Just a few pieces of non-recyclable garbage can make the recycling plant deem an entire load as "trash." This means that even if your neighbors separate their recycling perfectly, but you are too lazy and just throw all your trash into your recycling collection bin, you may be ruining all their efforts.

 - Don’t:

Recycle Toxic Containers - Most plastic bottles are recyclable unless they were holding toxic stuff. Those bottles need to go in the trash, and more often than not, they are supposed to be disposed of using hazardous waste procedures. Household hazardous waste containers include antifreeze, motor oil, windshield washer fluid, bleach, pesticide or herbicide. You can identify many hazardous waste products by the danger symbols (e.g., corrosive, explosive, poison and flammable) - Check your local plant’s rules for more specifics. But for the most part, if you would call poison control if your kid or dog ingested the contents of a particular container, you shouldn’t put it in the recycling.

- Don’t: Put Yard Waste In the Recycling. If you are a homeowner, it may be tempting to fill up your recycling and garbage bins with tree trimmings and grass clippings after a big yard cleanup. But just like food isn’t recyclable, neither is yard waste. There is plenty of information available on recycling, so it should never be too difficult to find an answer to any of your recycling queries. If in doubt, you can always check with your local recycling center too. Making a difference to the world will make a world of difference.

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