Oh, dear plastic!
A few years ago, I remember watching videos about ocean plastic pollution on social media. I was shocked. I was so sad and felt sorry for my daughter. While shopping at the grocery store, I couldn’t help looking around at all the packaging, the plastic, the single-use products. It was a depressing time. I also felt kind of disappointed about my lifestyle; being aware of the problem but not changing much of my buying habits.
Well, guilt doesn’t help much, does it?
Somehow, something has to shake our conditioned habits. These videos finally did that for me. I know, businesses and industry must change as well. Yes, absolutely! But it should not be stopping you from taking action right now. We are all in this together, cliche maybe, but so true. We need to be inspired and empowered to change. With this post, my wish is to inspire you to recycle better but don’t get me wrong, recycling is NOT the first thing to do! I truly want to inspire you to change your habits too. It is so much BETTER than recycling and with some good tips, it can be easier.
The best garbage item is the one that doesn’t exist.
In the world, less than 20% of packaging gets recycled. In the near future, Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) will be transitioning their recycling depots to a program that will collect more materials including many more types of plastic wrap. That’s good news because it means less garbage, but always keep in mind that the BEST PRACTICE is to REDUCE the amount of plastic coming into your home to begin with.
It is so complicated you say!
Great! Then change some of your habits by buying less of these plastic items and saying no to disposable and you will have less material to figure out. In doing so, you will INSPIRE OTHERS to do it as well. What is the point in using a disposable coffee cup and sitting in a coffee shop to drink it only to throw it away right after? Become aware of what you buy!
Ultimate first steps for your daily routine
– Bring your coffee mug
– Use your reusable bags
– Don’t buy a single-use water bottle, Please!
– Clean all items before recycling them
– Avoid using disposable plastics (IE: plastic bags, coffee cups and lids, plastic utensils…)
– Sort and clean your recycling better. Share what you know.
Go further and inspire others
– Bring your containers to buy your meat at the Coop. Yes, you can do that at the Coop!
– Don’t be shy to bring a container when buying take out. Most restaurants are happy to do it.
– Give pressure on the corporations that have the power to create the most change. Use your voice more. Write letters to companies, tell them what you think. Use their online customer feedback link.
– Vote with your purchase
– Sign petitions like the Greenpeace Canada’s one addressed to the five biggest polluters with their throwaway plastics (Nestlé, Tim Hortons, PepsiCo., The Coca-Cola Company, and McDonald’s).
– Watch CBC’s great video about plastic at grocery store.
– Stop buying Styrofoam coffee cups or plates for your parties, events or at work. Please!
– When you order something online with Amazon choose the Frustration-Free packaging. Your box will be delivered without excess packaging material. Also even if the 2-day delivery is free with a Prime account, choose No rush, you will ensure the delivery truck or plane will be full instead of half full.
Now, let’s ‘unpuzzle’ plastic recycling
To be less confusing and to ensure we are all talking about the same thing, I divided the plastics into 4 categories; hard, bags, overwraps and flexible. Each one of these will have a different direction (recycling or garbage) depending on where you dispose of them and to which recycling service you use in Nelson.
Recycling in Nelson No no’s
- Styrofoam #6
- Compostable and Biodegradable Plastics
If they go in the Blue bags or in the Recycling Depot, they will contaminate the recycling process. For more info, visit BC Recycle. https://recyclebc.ca/compostable-biodegradable-packaging/
- Flexible Plastics
ALL Flexible plastics need to go into the trash. Some are collected under the Recycle BC stewardship program as part of a research and development program exploring ways to reuse the plastic but NOT in Nelson. The company Terra Cycle is recycling a little part of it. They offer boxes to send them back but you have to collect items by brand.
*At Wallmart, Safeway and Save-On Foods, the plastic recycling bins are next to customer service.
Hopefully, these tools can help you figure plastic recycling. I will keep you posted when there will be changes in the services offered.
Remember: Slimming down our waste means also slimming down our recycling bag. I have faith in YOU. You can do it!