The HRM currently recycles Two kinds of plastic. If you look on the bottom of your containers, it’s the #1 (PETE, Polyethylene Terephthalate) and #2 (HDPE, High Density Polyethylene), traditionally the make-up of 2-litre beverage bottles, trash bags, milk jugs, etc. The HRM does not recycle #3-#7 plastic: food wrap, yogurt containers, shampoo bottles, straws, plastic egg cartons, meat trays, CD cases, diapers or other mixed polymer plastics.
The reasons behind that are largely financial. In the plastic market, the #1 and #2 are worth far more than the other plastic types, easily remade into a variety of products from benches to rulers. There are other recycling operations in the province that do collect those five other kinds of plastic, but most of them get shipped overseas to China to be recycled, defeating the purpose of reducing waste and emissions by the energy it takes to send them over there.
Currently, 53 percent of what goes in our regular garbage in Halifax could be recycled if we made more of an effort to separate it.
This is what the HRM recycles from the curbside program in terms of plastics and bottles: Plastic bottles and containers (#1 and #2), All plastic bags including: grocery, retail, bread, dry cleaning and frozen food bags, bubble wrap, glass bottles and jars, steel and aluminum cans, clean aluminum foil & plates, paper milk cartons and tetra juice paks. All should go into blue bags.
In clear plastic bags go the paper recycling: Dry and clean paper, newspapers, flyers, glossy magazines, catalogues, envelopes, paper egg cartons, paperbacks & phone books.
Corrugated cardboard (corrugated cardboard is “waffled” between the layers eg. appliance boxes, pizza boxes) needs to be folded flat and tied in bundles, approximately 2 ft x 3 ft x 8 inches.
Household Hazardous Waste can be brought to the HHW Depot (open most Saturdays) located behind the Materials Recycling Facility at 50 Chain Lake Drive. Hazardous waste includes batteries, leftover liquid paint, leftover corrosive cleaners, pesticides/herbicides, gasoline, fuel oil and used motor oil, solvents and thinners, pharmaceuticals and drugs, aerosol cans containing hazardous substances, barbeque tanks, small propane cylinders.
Deposit bearing beverage containers can also be returned to any HRM Enviro-Depot for partial refund of the deposit paid, as can empty paint containers. Enviro-Depots were established by the Resource Recovery Fund Board to help divert recycleable materials from landfills. For more information, and a list of EnviroDepots, check out the helpful HRM waste management website: halifax.ca/wrms/resources.
And also go to rrfb.com, or call 877-313-RRFB (7732) for more information about tire and vehicle recycling and other ways to live more sustainably in Halifax. The Resource Recovery Fund Board is an environmental waste-management non-profit corporation with a host of resources and programs.
Check out rbrc.org/call2recycle for battery recycling information.