By Maureen Wise
Recycling has changed quite a bit over the past few years since China stopped accepting foreign nations’ plastics in 2018 and it has led to terrible consequences. As a result, waste management and recycling companies have been struggling to deal with the excess contaminated material that is ending up in our municipal landfills. They struggle to improve their dismal average of under 9% of plastics that end up on the conveyor belts, resulting in the remainder ending up in municipal landfills.
When the Blue Box Curbside program in Canada began in 1981, the sole purpose was to collect newspaper and cardboard to allow companies to recycle this into other paper products like paper towels and tissue. This practice helped to reduce the harvesting of trees that are needed to produce paper.
When the recycling companies found out that China and other far-east countries would pay for plastics that are used in household products, this proved to be a “cash cow” for them because they could collect these items, pack them into shipping containers and sell the contents as “recycled material” for significant profits because they were paid by weight. This was the beginning of all the Waste Diversion and Recycling Practices problems that we are facing today in every community in the world.
Recycling companies encouraged consumers to separate plastics, glass, and tin cans from their kitchen waste material, and to put them into the recycling bin. Municipalities saw a reduction of waste entering the landfills for a short period of time however it wasn’t long after China’s decision that the Blue Box Curbside Program began to fail, and it is only getting worse. Now we must deal with the repercussions, and they will increase unless we change the current methods that are being used.
The most important part of recycling is understanding what really can be recycled where you live. Material recovery facilities (MRFs, pronounced “merfs”) are not all the same and do not sort out recyclables in the same manner. Obtain exact lists of what is accepted where you live from your municipality, your waste hauler, or from the MRF directly. Find out from them so that you know what can be recycled where you are.
When items are put through the recycling stream that is not washed and rinsed before they are put into a blue bin they cannot be recycled, and it creates contamination and reduces the value of the material being recovered. The waste must be sorted again, at a high cost, and these “wish-cycled” items will still end up in the landfill.
Another important factor is that of co-mingling of materials and how they make it so difficult to collect on a conveyor belt that is rapidly traveling in a recycling facility. Furthermore, if the broken glass in the blue bin is mixed with paper and other plastic, the whole load is considered contaminated and must be sent to the landfill.
However, we must continue to do our part to recycle what we can and a company in Saskatoon Canada has developed a method where valuable plastics, glass, tin, and aluminum cans can be sorted at the source – right in your home. Company President Harold Sokyrka states:
“Proper waste management and recycling practices “Start at the Source – In the Stores and in Our Homes – Not at the End of a Conveyor Belt.”
The company has developed a patent-pending process that is a wonderful method of helping you to sort your recyclables before they enter the MRF recycling system.
It is the first System of its kind that will reward the householder for properly recycling the plastics, glass, and metals that accumulate in the home, and with the use of the unique collection bags, this will dramatically result in improved recycling practices.
The monetary value of these plastics, glass and metals (aluminum and tin cans) is significant and there is an aggressive volatile market for the different types. Residential MERFs will try to collect these items from the Blue Bin Curbside and through a complex series of sorting to try and extract the valuable plastic material. Sadly, on average, most recycling companies struggle to separate on average under 9% of the material collected due to contamination and co-mingling
Once they have sorted and bundled the items into bales accordingly, these recyclable items are then sent to processing centers where the plastic materials are further sorted, washed, and shredded to create tiny plastic beads which are finally reprocessed into the various recycled products. The glass and metals are sent to processors who will create new products from these materials.
ADVANTAGES OF THE NEW PATENT-PENDING SYSTEM
The “Kwik-BagIt Closed-Loop Rewards Recycling System” uses multiple reusable recyclable bags to help you sort each type of recycling material at home, work, or school. The printing on the bags will instruct the consumer on what type of packages are to be sorted and what contents will eventually be used when they are sent to recycling processors.
Because the cleaning and sorting are done in the household, preliminary results are proving to improve the sorting by as much as 80% + for plastics, glass, and metals. The paper and cardboard are no longer contaminated with broken glass, dirty soup cans, peanut butter, and honey containers that are no longer co-mingled with other items. And, since the bags are sealed after they are filled with the appropriate items, co-mingling of materials is eliminated.
Once the bags have been filled and sealed, they are then deposited at exclusively licensed drop-off centers which will be located at convenient retail establishments or simply put into the curbside Blue Bin.
Now Introducing Our Patent Pending Bag Holder and Exclusive Reusable/Washable Bags
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