I became familiar with the term ‘nesting’ when training to become an Early Childhood Educator. Learning how to nest items is one of the basic skills young children learn.
An example of children’s nesting toys are boxes or barrels that come in graduated sizes so the small ones fit inside the bigger ones. The challenge is to get them in the right order so they all fit inside the biggest one.
A grown-up example would be measuring cups or serving bowls that nest together. They take up less space in the cupboard.
What does nesting have to do with recycling?
It’s not quite the same as the above examples and it is a problem not a fun game or cupboard organizer.
It describes one kind of recyclable placed inside another.
Recyclables often arrive nested. Some examples are cans inside tissue boxes, aluminum cans inside tin cans, cans inside of plastic clam shells, plastics and jars inside cereal boxes and garbage nested in boxes.
We bale recyclables and ship them to Winnipeg where they are separated from a moving conveyor belt. Nesting makes sorting very difficult especially as the materials have been squished in the baling process.
Materials may fall inside others during the baling process. It is hard to avoid so we try to make the situation better by separating nested items before they are baled.
Nesting the same materials is fine. Examples are flattened boxboard boxes (like cereal boxes) inside one boxboard box or smaller tin cans inside a larger one.
I’m guessing people nest items to save space in the recycling bag. A better way to accomplish this is to flatten boxes, large pop bottles and milk containers.