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Is recycling BS?

In Halton - styrofoam is not. Not having consistent recycling rules is a huge problem.
I used to work for a CPG company in Kitchener, and we claimed our packaging was recyclable. It was a composite of polyethylene #1 and polypropylene #5, both commonly accepted by Toronto and other Ontario municipalities for blue box. However when they're combined, the recycling number is now a #7, which while accepted by Kitchener-Waterloo (but almost nowhere else), is a catch all # for non-recyclable material - baled and shipped to China for shredding and used in gawd knows what, and transferring the environmental impact of our made in Ontario packaging to China and its people. The few customers who called to say their city would not accept #7 material were told they could ship the packaging back to us at their expense. How is that positive recycling?

I notice that Toronto no longer includes the Recycling # on their guide https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/recycling-organics-garbage/houses/what-goes-in-my-blue-bin/ So what's the point of these numbers?

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As for coffee cups, styrofoam is entirely recyclable. Why did we stop using those for takeaway containers and coffee cups?

Have you ever had a beverage or food that comes hot as hell out of a styrofoam container? The styrofoam leaches in the contents. It's friggin gross-tasting and, I imagine, none too healthy.
 
Have you ever had a beverage or food that comes hot as hell out of a styrofoam container? The styrofoam leaches in the contents. It's friggin gross-tasting and, I imagine, none too healthy.
I’m a child of the 1970s, I’ve drunk many a hot soup in styrofoam, water from garden hoses, bobbed for apples, never washed fruit, never wore a bike helmet until I was in my 20s. It’s amazing I’ve lived this long.
The header on that should read: Fear Your Plastics

I didn't know PET was such a douche.
Just ask any Albertan. Though they may take a shine to his son after his pipeline support.
 
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I’m a child of the 1970s, I’ve drunk many a hot soup in styrofoam, water from garden hoses, bobbed for apples, never washed fruit, never wore a bike helmet until I was in my 20s. It’s amazing I’ve lived this long.
I'm a child of the 90s and have done all that and still don't wash my fruits and veggies and have never owned a bike helmet and during my 20s thought I was Hunter S Thompson. Now my doctor says after a full life essentials exam, "Don't change a thing. Whatever you're doing, keep doing it."
Some things never change. ;)

Just ask any Albertan. Though they make take a shine to his son after his pipeline support.

Clever! hahaa....I didn't know either type of PET was such a douche.
 
A good amount of e-waste ends up in that district in the Accra area in Ghana.
The shell game that is offshore recycling reminds me of the moral superiority over electric cars, where we espouse our non-polluting ways while ignoring the massive impact of mining and producing the batteries, all because it’s out of sight, out of mind, delegated to the third world.

Here’s the fix for managing our waste at home. Joint National/Provincial legislation on packaging material, stating that:

  1. Every CPG must be packaged in materials that are truly recyclable or biodegradable. Importers and retailers will be fined for infractions.
  2. Any packaging material that cannot be recycled at home must be accepted back by the retailer/importer (Tim Horton cups, etc...)
  3. Single use plastics are not permitted whatsoever. Food takeout can return to foil and wood/paper plus innovative agricultural products (cutlery, straws from starch, etc...). Beverages must return to easily recyclable aluminum or recyclable/biodegradable glass.

The companies that sell us things need to remember that we’re buying the item, not its packaging.
 
People should always remember that the three R's of waste conservation are to be taken in their order, jumping to recycling as the panacea to reducing waste is essentially barking up the wrong tree.
  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle
 
@jje, Johnny and rbt... Thank you for making the point. I was about to do the same. As my brother says, "Remember, recycling is the third R."
 
I got the keys to the dumpster room when i was working on an office complex. The recycling separation bins on property out in public are decoration. I go out of my way to put my plastic bottle in the recycling receptacle. But at the end of the day, all of the recyclables are dumped into the garbage dumpster along with everything else. ( Broken coffee makers, florescent light-tubes and my left over construction scrap)

I'm guessing the garbage company only wants the metals from the dumpsters, and the rest of it gets incinerated or shipped somewhere.
 
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I got the keys to the dumpster room when i was working on an office complex. The recycling separation bins on property out in public are decoration. I go out of my way to put my plastic bottle in the recycling receptacle. But at the end of the day, all of the recyclables are dumped into the garbage dumpster along with everything else. ( Broken coffee makers, florescent light-tubes and my left over construction scrap)

This isn't universal, but it is, unfortunately somewhat common; even if the problem doesn't occur at the building level, it often occurs at the transfer station level; and if not there, many loads of recyclables are rejected at the plant to which they are sent, for any number of reasons, though the leading ones are contamination of the waste to the point where it isn't viable; or low-demand for the resulting products, in which case, it still goes to landfill.

Recycling isn't a scam, in the inherent sense, but as practiced commonly in North America, its far less effective than advertised and far less than one would hope.

I'm guessing the garbage company only wants the metals from the dumpsters, and the rest of it gets incarcerated or shipped somewhere.

They put the recyclables in jail?
 

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