It’s interesting how often I’m able to relate personal stories on the good ol’ Perimeter blog. No, I don’t work on a construction site so I don’t require the use of Perimeter mini bins or split waste bins. But we’ve been preaching construction waste management and sustainable building practices for the past couple months here, and where does responsible waste management begin?

At home. 

Anyways, it was just last week, I was returning from my neighbourhood recycling spot with a smile on my face, happy in the knowledge that I was reducing my carbon footprint, when I was halted in my tracks. 

Maybe you read about it already. 

I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice to say I’m not in jail, although I feel pretty bad about mailing in my recycling abilities and chucking a plastic bag out with my cardboard refuse. My neighbourhood council wasn’t impressed, mostly because of the extra cost we could incur if we didn’t separate our recyclables properly. I wasn’t impressed either, but mostly because of the poor instructions on the sides of the recycling bins. Everyone has someone to blame!

The Truth About Recycling

The biggest thing I’ve learned in my research in the past few months is that recycling isn’t perfect yet. We’re fortunate to live in a part of the world with infrastructure that makes municipal services such as recycling possible, but we’ve got a ways to go to perfect the process. 

For instance, what’s permitted in the containers bin? Can glass be dropped in there? Is this magazine I’m reading paper or plastic?

Which brings us back to the plastic bag, the sticking point for frustrated recyclers throughout the lower mainland. 

The first thing to understand is that most communities have unique recycling conditions. Some recycling stations aren’t equipped to handle certain materials, some locations are able to sell some of the materials, and some areas simply can’t justify the cost to process certain items. 

What’s recyclable at my house might not be recyclable at your house. 

Here’s an awesome read on the subject: Can I Recycle Plastic Bags in the Recycling Bin?

Sure, we’d all be over the moon with joy if a friendly brigade of garbage men showed up to our door every day to sort and remove all our waste. Which reminds me, f you’re operating a construction crew, then yeah, call us and we’ll bring a split waste bin or a mini-bin so your waste disposal is 100 times easier. 

Like I was informed that day in the street, recycling is a privilege, not a right, and it’s a privilege we pay for. The rates might differ from community to community, but to have recycling services of any kind so readily available is one of the key components of our civilized society. You don’t need a minion at home to do your recycling for you, but you do need a sense of responsibility.

Whatever Dude, Can I Recycle Plastic Bags or Not?

I wrote this headline a month ago with the intention of answering this question for all you loyal readers out there, but my research has made it impossible to provide a blanket answer for everybody. Maybe you can, maybe you can’t. 

I do know that in my particular neighbourhood’s blue bins, plastic bags are not permitted. This awesome recycling guide describes exactly what is and isn’t permitted. No styrofoam. No foam cushion packaging. 

And no plastic bags. 

However, I can drop off these items at my local recycling depot, along with batteries, old cell phones, and large appliances. Here’s my local depot directory, you’re responsible to find yours. 

Happy recycling every body!