Solving Those Tricky Recycling Questions: MNBP Residents Questions Answered

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Submitted by Jacqui Wakefield,
MNBP Waste Diversion Group

Here are some answers to questions about recycling that MNBP residents have asked. Please note that rules keep changing because of the instability in recycling markets. However, Waste Management Canada has confirmed these responses with their current end-market recycling facilities.

Q: Can I recycle lightly waxed cardboard boxes, like frozen dinners boxes? 

A: Yes, this item is boxboard, so there are no limitations …as long as there is NO food waste residue.

Q: Should the lids from plastic water bottles be removed? If so, do the caps stay in the recycle bin or go into the trash?

A: The lids will be accepted if left ON the bottle. If the bottle caps are removed, they should be put into trash. The same is true of small “plastic portion cups” used as individual serving-size containers for yoghurt and jello, as they are too small for the recycling machinery.

If you do use plastic water bottles, please recycle them! In Ontario alone, it is estimated that one billion plastic water bottles are sent to landfill every year.

Instead of worrying about today’s recycling rules, why not switch to reusable water bottles – and enjoy our delicious, local water? 

Q: Can I recycle cardboard ice cream boxes/cartons if they have been washed and dried?

A: No, unfortunately. This type of ice cream carton usually is made of a special type of paperboard, which has a plastic lining of polyethylene to ensure that it won’t break down in the freezer. This makes it unsuitable for recycling.

Q: Can I recycle cans from frozen concentrated juice (cardboard with metal ends)?

A: The metal ends can be recycled IF you separate them from the cardboard cylinder. Same answer for other items like the Pillsbury crescent rolls. Products that are made of multiple components are typically not acceptable.

Q: Can I recycle chip bags? They look like paper lined with foil.

A: No, they are not acceptable. Place as waste. Most potato and tortilla chip bags are made of two or more recyclable materials that are fused together. Because the component materials cannot be separated, the bags are not recyclable.

Q: Can I recycle the plastic liners from cereal boxes?

A: No, unfortunately not. However, you can use it as a “free” substitute for waxed paper. It also can be used for rolling out cookie dough or pie crusts, crushing crackers or nuts, and storing frozen foods.

Q: Can I recycle dog food bags?

A: Not acceptable. Place as waste. Paper materials coated in plastic or wax or fused with foil cannot be recycled.

REMEMBER – Please keep plastic bags and plastic film OUT of all recycling! They are extremely damaging to the processing equipment at recycling facilities.

OTHER ITEMS NOT RECYCLABLE: 

• Spiral or cardboard cans such as Pringles chips or juice cans

• Styrofoam packaging, cups, trays and takeout food containers

• Bubble wrap

• Plastic toys, hangers

• Window & mirror glass, light bulbs

• Drinking glasses, plates, dishes, mugs, etc.

• Butcher paper, wax paper, parchment paper

• Plastic tableware, forks, spoons, knives, straws