According to a 2013 report provided by Solid Waste Management Services, Toronto residents throw out an astonishing 51% of all materials that could be recycled!
While the routine behind garbage and recycling collection can certainly be different when you're living in an apartment (compared to living in single-family house), just because you're in a high-rise doesn't mean you're above recycling.
WHAT YOU CAN RECYCLE
Although the process may be different in an apartment building than in single-family homes, the same types of materials can still be recycled:
• Plastic containers with a recycling triangle on the bottom, including all bottles, pails, tubs and jugs
• Aluminum drink cans
• Tin food cans
• Milk and juice cartons
• Juice boxes
• Glass jars and bottles (clear and coloured)
• Newspapers and inserts, flyers and junk mail
• Magazines, phone books, household paper, shredded paper and envelopes
• Cardboard egg cartons and paper tubes
• Flattened cardboard (e.g., cereal, cracker, tissue, laundry, shoe and packing boxes)
All apartment buildings should have onsite recycling containers (and some even have dedicated recycling rooms on each floor, for maximum tenant convenience). If you're not sure where the recycling bins in your building are located, check with your building staff.
For proper disposal of special waste such as paint, construction materials, appliances, tires, or old mattresses and furniture, talk to the building staff - don't just mindlessly throw it away!
As for computers, TV's, and other electronics, most retailers like Best Buy, Future Shop and Costco have bins in the store to bring your old, unneeded materials to recycle.
AVOID RECYCLING BIN CONTAMINATION
With so many things capable of being recycled, why then is so much of it thrown away? A leading factor in the amount of recyclables that are tossed out with the trash is the contamination of apartment recycling bins - and it's an issue that apartment tenants can prevent with just a little bit of effort.
When materials are placed in the wrong recycling bin, nothing can be recycled! The bin is either left behind or the contents must be collected as garbage, as it is too costly and time-consuming to sort through. To avoid this:
• Don't put your recyclables in plastic bags. These bags cannot be recycled, and as a result, anything placed inside plastic bags cannot be recycled either. As well, don't tie your materials together, as processing facilities cannot remove string or wires.
• Remember, glass, metal and plastic go into one bin. Paper and cardboard go into the other. Don't put your material into the first recycling bin you see, and don't toss any sort of garbage into the recycling bin!
• Not everything is recyclable. Items such as hard plastics (cups and dishes), styrofoam packaging, motor oil bottles, aerosol cans, chip bags and candy wrappers, etc. should not be put in the recycling bins.