You’ve probably noticed a big change in the kinds of packaging that accompanies your groceries and household goods over the past several years. Items previously protected in a cardboard box may now come with a small piece of cardboard and a plastic ‘blister’ pack; or maybe you’re seeing new squeeze tubes with fruit products, or drink pouches in place of cans and bottles and much more.
It can be challenging to figure out which of these new materials can be recycled and how to go about it. And, while many plastic items look alike, there are many differences in the types of plastic used, which influences whether they should go into your recycling bin where you live.
We all want to recycle so it can be tempting to place everything in recycling - even items your community doesn’t collect yet - in hopes that maybe they do...or will soon. That's what we call ‘wishful recycling’. Maybe you’ve recently moved and some materials were collected in your past residence, but aren’t yet where you live or maybe there's an item that just seems like it should be recyclable.
CPIA is eager to ensure that as many plastics as can be recycled are; but we also encourage you only recycle materials that are collected in your community.
When we place items in recycling that aren’t being collected yet, it makes sorting materials more difficult and ultimately, costly for your community. So, if you're not sure, please take time to check first to confirm that the item you want to recycle is currently collected where you live.
What Plastics Can You Recycle?
municipa lity's website,
or give the recyc ling
progra m staff a call and
ask which materials
you can recycle h eck your local
Your best source of information on local recycling opportunities will always be your community’s program. Chances are you have a calendar, a brochure, fridge magnet or brochure in your house with a phone number of your local recycling website listed on it.
Why not check your local municipality's website, or give your recycling program staff a call so you can ask your specific questions to make sure which materials you can recycle? Social media pages can also be a great way to find out about your program - and other creative ideas about how people reuse their plastic packaging for new purposes.
Online Directories for Special Materials
And for those materials that your community doesn’t collect – you may be able to find local options online. For example, polystyrene packaging (such as foam containers and packaging) can be bulky and may not be collected where you live. If it's not, you may be able to take it to a local recycling depot or a store that takes back items for recycling.
New resources are coming online to help you to pinpoint your most convenient recycling options such as: