Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Waste diversion...aka I can't help but look in the bin! (part 1)

Coming home from Groundswell, I came in through the alley as I needed access to our compost since I had brought home our collective food scraps for the week on my bike. If you know me, you know that I can’t be by recycle/garbage receptacles without taking a gander inside…I just can’t.

I found….some binders, a fan that is in incredible condition,  some cords (internet, electrical etc), and a hanger…this was in the garbage. Fun to find, but ultimately sad…sad that people throw this away, especially when it’s in perfect working condition. Anyone need any binders/cables? I think I already found a home for the fan ;). 

In the recycling blue bin I rescued two bottles which had maybe a quarter of their product still inside – i.e. soap. One was a pump bottle for liquid soap which I  was excited about and took since I wanted a bottle to add the bulk liquid soap I got refilled at the Soap Dispensary – I was pretty excited to find this as I really didn't want to buy a soap I didn't really want, and accumulate more plastic, just to get the bottle! So…that’s good. 

The other one I just rinsed out a bit and then put it back, since I figured the city would deem it as “contaminated” and into the garbage it would go.

On that note, I wonder how much we all know about what goes into recycling and what ends up actually being recycled. While we feel good about putting x,y,z in our blue boxes – if it’s not actually an item the city accepts, it will ultimately end up in the landfill. 

So – a recap of what the city of Vancouver accepts (I specify Vancouver since this is where I am and it differs quite drastically depending on which area you’re located in!) Also, this should be noted too that this is only if you get City pick-up if it’s a private recycler (i.e. you're in a business, or condo complex, apartment etc) then what is accepted can be slightly different too. I was going to do my own bulleted list but then this is forever changing, as facilities become better able to accept more items (yay!) so…a link shall suffice

What goes in the GREEN bin  (see the link!) --> basically, anything that was living, grew from soil, or would decompose if left sort of unattended, outside of the fridge, outside. I like to project into the future and imagine, if it got wet – would it ultimately mold and decay? Like…a t-shirt - the answer is yes, because it’s cotton (cotton being a plant), and I can visualize a sort of moldy t-shirt. But would plastic? Nope..the water would bead on it but it wouldn’t penetrate. So yes… I like that sort of visual for helping me navigate the potentially muddy waters…or composted soil?

In terms of what is or is not excepted, just want to draw attention to the image of soil/rocks. At first glance I was thinking to my self - "WHAT…that is clearly organic matter"…and then I realized – OH…it’s because you can dump that outside on the grass/soil/plant bed…etc..and if you live in a condo – well actually, if you live in a condo you probably are not having city pick-up it’s likely a private recycler so you’d want to check with them assuming it's of a similar vein, I’d  just sneak it in there anyway…OR …bring it down and add it to your landscaped areas around your building, or share it with a friend ;) there are always ways….always. :) And, it's fun to exercise our creativity and find them!

I digress, my actual point of wanting to write was to note the horrific chemicals in our traditional soaps and body products and I will use this one soap  I found as an example. However since this is already incredibly long....let's take it to a ...second blog post!

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