We’ve got to start doing something about recycling and waste, right now.
In my opinion, companies should completely stop manufacturing packaging and products that aren’t biodegradable or recyclable. But that’s a long way off. So it’s up to us as consumers to make the right decisions about what we purchase. That goes for what we eat, what we wear, what toys we give our children, and how we conduct ourselves in our every day lives.
Changing our behaviour comes with several challenges. Information is fragmented. It’s hard to know how and where to buy the right products, and dispose of our packaging and waste correctly. Even myself, as someone who is actively thinking about what should be garbage and what should be recycling, find it hard to know all of the right answers. And of course, these answers currently differ from one municipality to another.
I believe that most people genuinely want to make the right decisions for the environment. But when recycling practices differ between one town to another, and plastic comes in several variations, some of which is not recyclable at all, it’s difficult to know where to begin.
As some of you may know, the Ontario government is trying to mandate an overhaul of our existing blue-box recycling program. That is great news, the program is in desperate need of a revamp. But even if the new potential mandate of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) comes to fruition, there will be months or years of continued current practice leading to a large part of our recycling ending up in landfill. In some cases, this rate of unusable recycling (called “residual rate” in the industry) can be as high as 40%.
Contamination of recycling is a huge problem, and increases this residual rate. A recycling bale can be contaminated by materials that either aren’t meant to be there, or that run the risk of polluting what the recycled materials are supposed to become.
Have you ever looked inside one of those bins inside a mall or supermarket? The ones that are intended to separate waste from recycling? I’d wager 90% of them contain contaminated materials. Mostly because people are simply confused about what is supposed to go where. And if I drive from Newmarket to Toronto, the rules change. How are we expected to keep it all straight?
Hearing about recycling going into landfill is frustrating to consumers who believe they are doing the right thing. I hate the thought of packaging going to landfill when it is inherently recyclable. Some would say, in that case, stop buying products that aren’t recyclable or biodegradable. But as you’ll see in upcoming posts, that is not as easy as it sounds. Not impossible, but certainly not easy.
The first step is to educate ourselves, so we can make more informed decisions about what we consume. That’s where Origyn fits in. We want to raise awareness about recycling, sustainable practices, and overall better stewardship of our environment.
We owe it to ourselves and our children to do a better job. And I have faith that we’ll get there.
Thanks for taking the time to visit us. Until Next time!