We have been inspecting the recycling bins of NDG for a month now and have been pleased to notice that most residents put out their green bins. Unfortunately, we have also noticed a lot of intruders in your bins. Here’s a list of the most frequent errors, along with some surprising finds.

The most frequent errors

1 – Plastic # 6

Make sure to carefully read the recycling number on your plastic containers before tossing them in the recycling bin. Take note that this number is often written very small, so you may not notice it immediately. Many of the items we have spotted in your recycling bins are made of plastic number 6. This category includes the infamous styrofoam, often used in takeout containers and packaging. There are also mini yogurt containers. Unlike large yogurt containers, the snack size ones are not recyclable since they are made of plastic number 6. If you cannot find a plastic number on the item or it is a mix of materials, it is likely not recyclable.

2 – Soiled Cardboard

Cardboard can be recycled. However, it is important to mind the quality of the cardboard you are putting in your green bin. If it contains leftover food or grease, please discard these into your compost bin.

3 – Electronics

During our inspections, it is not rare to find used electronics in the recycling bin. These include old VCRs, telephones, toasters and weed whackers. If these items are repairable, please keep or donate them. If not, you can bring old electronics to the Eco-Centre. They will gladly take them off your hands!

4 – Objects to give

We also have seen many objects that could have been given a second life. This includes clothing, shoes, books and toys. If you have these lying around your house, please don’t throw them out! You can bring them to second-hand stores, trade them for other items on Facebook groups, sell them or give them away to a friend.

5 – Construction Materials

Summer is the renovation season. This includes tearing down walls, ripping up carpet, and more. Often, these materials mistakenly end up in the recycling bin or placed on the curb, when they should in fact be brought to the Eco-Centre. It’s helpful to call in advance to ensure they have enough space for your construction waste.

6 – Hazardous Materials

Luckily, we’ve seen very little items from this category in your bins. So this is just a friendly reminder to bring old paint cans, aerosols, batteries, pesticides and fertilizers, fluorescent light bulbs and any other toxic materials to the Eco-Centre, where they can safely be disposed of.

7 – Single-Use Coffee Cups

We have noticed a ton of disposable coffee cups in your recycling bins since the beginning of the summer. These include the iconic white Starbucks cup and McDonald’s cups, neither of which are recyclable, due to their plastic lining. Please throw these items in the garbage.

Interesting Finds

Besides the recurring items we mentioned, here is a list of surprising finds from your bins, along with how they should have been disposed of.

1 – Frying Pans

Despite being made of metal, frying pans are too thick to be recycled through the same processes as thin cans. It’s best to bring them to the Eco-centre, whether they be made of steel, iron, teflon or any other metal.

2 – Reusable Bags

We recently spotted these reusable bags in a recycling bin. Notice the irony? Please reuse your bags as long as possible. Even ripped bags can always be mended. Once they are beyond saving, please dispose of them in the garbage bin.

3 – Wires/Tubing

We’ve also come across wires or tubing in your bins. Though some appear to be made of plastic, it is important to keep them out of the green bin. These objects are often composed of multiple materials that cannot be separated at the recycling center. Besides, because of their elongated shape, they can easily get caught in the recycling machinery. So please bring your wires and tubes to the Eco-Centre.

4 – Plates

Here’s a funny one! We have seen some plates (broken or in great condition) in your green bins. However, porcelain and ceramic are not recyclable. Instead, wrap them in a cloth, break them down with a hammer, and place them in a bag in the garbage. Nevertheless, this should only be done when plates are already damaged.

Despite seeing many misplaced items, we would like you to thank you for your efforts and participation in the recycling program. Check out the “Ça va où?” app to find out more about waste disposal in your area. If you have any questions concerning recycling, please contact us!

This article was written by Léa Gauvin and Chantal Ménard, members of the Green Patrol 2020