Windsor-Essex Residents Urged to Improve Recycling Habits

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People across Windsor-Essex are being reminded to improve their recycling sorting habits.

Plastics and papers collected at the curb are sold to companies that recycle the material. But if it's not sorted properly, those loads can be sent back for further sorting, at a cost to municipalities. In some case, if the load is filled with too many products that can't be recycled, the contaminated load ends up in the landfill.

Manager of Environmental Services for the City of Windsor, Anne-Marie Albidone, says they need people to make sure they're not only separating paper and plastic items, but also, what they're putting in their red and blue boxes is actually recyclable.

"Those materials are sent to companies that actually recycles it, in others words they turn it into something else," she says. "Those companies want as pure a product as they can, they don't want any contamination."

Items that have been found in recycle bins left at the curb include plastic toys, frying pans, running shoes, umbrellas, propane tanks and even bags of dog poop. In most case, those items are not on the list of recyclable materials says Albidone.

"So when we send them a load that has a lot of contamination, they often refuse it. That means we have to pay to ship it back to us to re-sort it. So you can just imagine how that increases the cost exponentially," she says.

Albidone says some people tend to 'wish-cycle,' in that they put items at the curb that they wish could be recycled.

A good example I guess would be a plastic toy. We'll get plastic toys or frying pans or propane canisters. Because they're made of metal or plastic, people think they're recyclable," she says.

The Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority is currently calculating the actual dollar cost of improperly sorted recycling.