I had a very educational afternoon today. I attended a Managing your waste workshop put on by my local waste management department. I still want to tour the recycling and composting facilities of my municipality - but this workshop went a long way in informing me of what my diverting waste options are.
We started with an icebreaker by being given bags of garbage to sort into compost, paper recyclables, container recyclables, reusables, hazardous waste, and landfill garbage. Our group did pretty well but I found out that plastic 'clams' (any hard form of plastic that has no removable lid) is not recyclable at this time. HOWEVER - on April 1st they will be! Yipppeeeeeee! Other tips the region gave us were to separate materials as much as possible for easy sorting and rinse out/empty containers so they do not contain food waste of liquid. This is because the machinery at the plant identifies an object by either weight or computers and if a mixed material is detected the item may be sent to a landfill. Right now Durham's Waste Management facilities divert aprox. 53% of garbage from landfills (an excellent record when compared to other Ontario regions) and their goal is to get it to 70%.
The Durham Waste Management site is extremely easy to navigate and includes a great tool called "Know Before You Throw"
This program allows you to type in any piece of garbage you have and it will direct you on how to dispose of it properly. Our region has special drop off sites for recycling some waste that I didn't think was possible (styrofoam, paint, electronics etc.) We even have a curbside battery collection program!
All-in-all it was a very positive presentation and I left knowing I could purchase local compost from the green bin program, that we have 'reuse' days when gently used items can be picked up for charity, and that many local businesses take back the garbage that comes with their products to recycle or reuse themselves (local greenhouses and their flower pots for example). I also came home with some great recycled swag and contact numbers for educational presentations for my students.