Bearnice the bear teaches BC residents how to recycle properly this holiday season
Recycle BC has welcome Bearnice to its team. Just off a successful turn as the spokesbear in its campaign, Bearnice aims to encourage even more BC residents to recycle right and prepare for the holiday season. Get to know Bearnice a bit more in the interview below.
"When you recycle, nature notices." That was the tagline for the commercial I was in and I'll let you in on a secret: it's true! Nature does notice and we're excited to see so many BC residents rinsing their containers, sorting correctly, and recycling across the province. Behind the scenes, recycling collection and post-collection crews are also thankful for your efforts which contribute to a successful recycling system.
When Recycle BC reached out to work together, I said connecting with fellow recyclers across the province was my goal. As a bear, it can be difficult to connect with people without them running in the other direction. Thankfully, Recycle BC has a wonderful online community filled with questions for me to dig into! Here are few answers to your questions with my Bearnice flair:
Where do we find info on what can be recycled?
Even as a dedicated recycler, I can admit there's a lot of information out there and some days it can feel overwhelming. My pro-tip?. You can search their accepted material list, find depot locations, and check your schedule if you receive collection from Recycle BC.
"But Bearnice, what if I can't find the material I'm looking for?" Let me tell you, I hear you! You wouldn't believe some of the things I find when I'm out on recycling patrol. For example, last week I spotted windshield wipers at the side of the road and when I searched the Recycle BC material list, I didn't find them. At first, I was confused but then I remembered that Recycle BC collects residential packaging and paper. Not to worry - I gave thea quick call and they were able to help me out. They're great for recycling questions when it's not packaging and paper-related.
Should we remove lids on glass jars before putting them in our glass bins or taking them to the depot?
Yes, please! That would be very helpful. Lids from glass jars can be included in your blue bin or container recycling.
Are wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows recyclable?
This is a great and timely question! Wrapping gifts is always a little tricky for me (bear paws, you know) but when it's time to wrap gifts, I use all-paper wrap because it can be recycled after use. Tissue paper used to fill gift bags can also be included, as well as paper gift bags, in your paper recycling bag or bin.
Wrapping paper with glitter, foil, or holographic material, isn't accepted for recycling because of the plastic used in those materials. Please also remove or reuse ribbons and bows.
The best way to keep it simple it is to keep it paper. That way you can take the worry out of wrapping and just enjoy gift-giving!
Can I recycle Tetra Paks?
Yes, Tetra Paks are recyclable! You can include them in your blue box or cart with other mixed containers - super easy!
Can I recycle take-out packaging that is labelled "made with cornstarch," biodegradable, or compostable?
Much like the glittery or shiny wrapping paper I mentioned earlier, plastic packaging labelled this way is not accepted for recycling. The organic material used to make the packaging causes contamination.
What happens to the plastic we recycle?
I'm glad I got this question because I know it's on the mind of many folks (and bears) in BC. We often see stories in the news about how a lot of plastic in Canada isn't recycled. Plastic waste is a global issue, but we need to remember that our actions at home have a global impact like ripples in a pond. (Did you like that? I'm so poetic sometimes.)
When I asked the team at Recycle BC about the plastic collected in their program, I found out that 98% of it is recycled right here in BC. Their end market - that's where they recycle the plastic - is in the Lower Mainland and the plastic is recycled into raw material, like pellets, so it can be used to make new packaging or products.
If you look at the numbers Recycle BC posts in their, you can see that 187,228 tonnes, or over 90%, of collected material were managed by recycling in 2019. Now you might say, "OK, Bearnice, that's great but what about plastic specifically?" Well friends, 46% of plastic supplied to BC residents is collected as part of the Recycle BC program from residents for recycling which means we still have some work to do to make sure we put our plastic packaging in our recycling bins or return it to the depot - but we can also be proud of that hard work we are doing sorting material, setting it out for collection, and returning it depots. Let's work together and bump up that percentage!
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.