The Importance of Keeping Recycling “Clean”

We have already shared that not all packaging and printed paper can be recycled, so Multi-Material BC (MMBC) only collects packaging and printed paper for which a recycling process exists. Material re-manufacturers, which do the actual recycling, want the materials they receive to be as “clean” as possible. This doesn’t mean freshly-washed (though giving your containers a quick rinse is helpful), but free from other types of materials.

There are simple things that you can do to ensure that the recyclable materials are “clean”, such as following the sorting instructions provided by your recycling collector. If glass is collected with your recycling in a separate container, make sure that only non-deposit glass bottles and jars make it into that container as any other recyclable packaging—and items like drinking glasses, mirrors, and ceramics—compromises the recyclability of the glass. Fragile recyclables, like foam packaging or glass containers, need to be kept separate from other recyclables because broken foam and glass that mix with the other recyclables and cannot be separated. The broken pieces of foam or glass are incompatible with the recycling process for other materials, meaning that less of the collected material is recycled properly.

Pillows, garden hoses, and toilet seats are just some of the examples of items that we have found in the packaging and printed paper collected in MMBC’s recycling program. None of these items are accepted in the MMBC program—and some of these can be hazardous to people and machinery—and the Recycling Council of BC can provide you with information about what to do with these items.

Keeping your recycling “clean” will help us ensure that more packaging and printed paper is recycled.