Not all of what we put into our blue recycling bins is actually recyclable, says the director of enVision.
Darryl Marsch says about 3-5% of what we put into our blue bins in Steinbach ends up at the landfill. Marsch adds the percentage of recycling that's actually garbage is dependent on what people send noting if people can keep things on the right track the percentage can be reduced and the goal would be to have no waste material end up at the recycling plant.
"A lot of people get confused with things like styrofoam, for example. One of the issues with styrofoam is that often it has the recycle symbol on the bottom but it's just not something that can be recycled in this part of the country. Even the plastic bags that people use for grocery shopping are not recyclable. Any plastic bag, pretty much at all, is not recyclable."
Marsch notes non-recyclable items also include softener salt bags, dog food bags, or paper with oil and paint contamination. He says you may recycle plastics with numbers 1,2,3,5, and 7.
He adds there is some confusion when it comes to household plastics.
"We do take all the household plastic containers; margarine containers, shampoo bottles, pop bottles, pop cans, beer cans. People seem to think that other plastics are recyclable as well and they're not. A common misconception is children's toys, for example. Plastic parts from different things that are not a part of this stream."
City of Steinbach Solid Waste Department Eldon Wallman says recycling is more than just what we put into our blue bins. He notes it's also hazardous waste, oil, and tires, to name a few.
As for rinsing out containers or washing them before putting them into the recycling bin, Marsch says it's not necessary for the containers to be clean, as far as their buyers are concerned, however, clean containers make for a better work atmosphere for their workers.
"But it if makes a difference of whether people are going to recycle or not, the preference would be recycle anyway because we will accept the materials and they are still marketable."