If you’ve ever wondered whether blue box recycling makes a difference, I can certainly tell you that it does, and every little bit helps! Here are some common statements that we often hear about recycling and facts to address those statements:
Statement: “Only 9% of plastics is recycled.”
FACT: This number accounts for all plastics produced – including recyclable and non-recyclable items – across the following sectors: packaging, automotive, construction, electrical and electronic equipment, textiles, home appliances and agriculture. In Peel, over 90% of recyclable plastics that residents put in the blue bin are recovered and sent to be turned into new products.
Statement: “A third of what we put in the Blue Box ends up in landfills.”
FACT: In Peel, less than 20% of what residents place in the blue bin goes to landfill. This is called residue.
The majority of the residue is garbage that should not have been placed in the blue bin.
Statement: “Paper, plastic and glass often go on international excursions.”
FACT: In Peel, our recovered containers and plastics go to processing facilities in North America including three located in Ontario. Peel’s paper continues to go to responsible international markets, as no local market exists.
Statement: “75% of recyclables produced in apartments go straight to landfill without touching the Blue Box.”
FACT: Peel’s waste audits show that residents who receive curbside collection put 76% of their recyclables in the blue bin. The remaining 24% of recyclables is disposed of mostly in the garbage. Peel’s multi-residential sector, including residents who live in apartments and condominiums, put approximately 36%of their recyclables in the blue bin and the remaining 64% in the garbage. Multi-residential buildings need to increase how much is being recycled. Peel is improving its infrastructure to collect more recycling, updating building design standards and development review processes to make recycling easier for residents. The Province also recognizes this challenge and is committed to updating its 3Rs regulations to improve diversion in multi-residential buildings and in other Industrial, Commercial and Institutional establishments.
Statement: “Who’s the culprit…not the citizen.”
FACT: Everyone has a role to play.
For example, government can set policies that support environmental responsibility, producers can work to eliminate problematic packaging, and residents can inform themselves on how to recycle right. The Province is in the process of updating its policy framework to improve environmental outcomes and reduce confusion. The Region of Peel is engaged in the provincial process to transition the Blue Box recycling program to full producer responsibility. We are also continuously improving our education material and piloting education and enforcement approaches.
Statement: “Environmentally, recycling is not a good idea.”
FACT: Recycling is good for the environment. It saves energy and reduces the need to draw raw material from the earth to make new items. Through residents’ recycling efforts, Peel has saved:
- 15 million trees
- 18 million gigajoules of energy (or 500 million litres of gasoline)
- 3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions
- 21 billion litres of water
For more information about recycling in Peel, please visit the Region of Peel’s Waste Management website at www.peelregion.ca/waste/recycling/.