Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mixing recyclables a bad idea

Is your city switching to "single-stream" recycling, so you put all your recyclable materials together instead of separating paper products, bottles and cans?

If so, complain!

Single-stream recycling is a slippery slope that will take us right back where we started before recycling. Remember: the more materials you put in a recycling container, the more it resembles a garbage can.

The materials you recycle lose value when they're scrambled together. Someone has to be paid to unscramble them. And that's not all: valuable paper gets contaminated with the dreck from dirty containers. If you want your city to get top dollar for the materials from your home or workplace, insist that they give those materials the careful handling they deserve, starting with your participation at the curb.

Ask how much revenue your city is earning from mixed materials, compared with other cities that collect paper and containers separately.

Single-stream recycling is favoured by garbage companies who want to look good by appearing to divert large volumes of (low-value) material. Mainly they want to reduce their up-front collection costs, even if the cost is passed on to the recycler.

Every nickel they save is a dollar lost for the environment when the messed-up materials can't be used to make new products. Dumbing-down recycling is not the way to build a healthy new recycling economy.


Al Lynch, North Shore Recycling Program said...

Thanks Helen. I couldn't agree more.

Gibsons Recycling said...

Helen. I own one of the only private recycling depots in BC. We recieve no governemnt funding. We may be about to get this single stream method of recycling here on the Sunshine Coast. The District of Sechelt has it already. Single stream is a recycling disaster. It is cheap and convenient and is the system prefered by short sited bureucrats with little or no concept about recycling or any vision.
Buddy Boyd
Gibsons Recycling depot
Gibsons BC