I was walking to through the baling area of the Recycling Centre a few weeks ago when I heard a radio advertisement stating things do not have to be washed before recycling.
I stopped and listened in dismay.
This advertisement was from the Multi Material Stewardship of Manitoba, the industry funded non-profit organization that promotes recycling and pays subsidies to communities based on the amount of materials recycled every year.
I immediately sent an email expressing my concern. We need things basically clean because we mix everything together so unclean items contaminates the paper.
It also discourages the ravens.
The reply email stated they don’t want people to waste time and water washing things outs.
I had lunch with the person I had emailed the other week and we talked about it. He described how all the plastic is shredded and washed thoroughly before it is recycled so it doesn’t matter if it is dirty.
He was also thinking of his mother who was spending a lot of time scrubbing off labels and making sure it was very clean which is a waste of time. Many people won’t recycle because they don’t want to do that.
All of this has led me to conclude that we need to better describe what we mean by cleaning items for recycling.
Recyclables need to be basically clean not spotless. The peanut butter container will take a bit more effort but many things like food cans and laundry soap jugs just need to be rinsed and drained briefly. If beverage containers are drained that is good enough.
Any recycling questions can be answered by calling the Recycling Centre at 204 687 6169.