Recycling is one of the easiest ways to help the environment. For many Hamiltonians, using blue bins and blue bags to sort paper and plastic is simply a fact of life. Recycling has become so ingrained in our systems that we do not give the act a second thought.
As the world is changing each and every day, so must our recycling standards. We are becoming more knowledgeable about the chemical make up of certain materials, and we are coming to realize that that many low-grade plastics are not as easily recyclable or environmentally friendly as we once thought.
Despite years of asking the city to recycle items like styrofoam and black plastic, Hamilton is asking residents to trash these items instead.
The request to toss these items comes from the fear of recycled plastic buyers potentially rejecting entire loads of plastic due to “contamination”. Batches of plastic can be “contaminated” for many reasons, such as people recycling items covered in food waste or putting non-recyclable items in their blue bins.
There is also the fact that the market for black plastic is dwindling. Buyers are no longer interested in purchasing recycled black plastic, and it’s not worth the extra cost for workers to sort out the different plastics.
Hamilton has only included styrofoam and coffee cup lids as acceptable, recyclable plastics for just over ten years. It will take time for Hamiltonians to make the adjustment and learn that these items no longer go in the blue bin.
As an adamant recycler, it’s disappointing to me that styrofoam and black plastics will no longer be allowed in the blue bins. I don’t want items to end up in a landfill just because something is no longer profitable.
What do you think about the changes to recycling procedures in Hamilton? Are you an avid recycler? Let us know in the comments.