Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday May 2, 2018
Hamilton’s blue box blues: recycling ban looms for coffee lids, Styrofoam
The city no longer wants you to put coffee cup lids, black plastic or Styrofoam in the blue box — despite spending years encouraging residents to recycle those items.
The low-grade plastics are technically recyclable, but virtually no one wants to buy the collected material anymore — especially since market giant China cracked down on imported plastics in January, said city recycling manager Emil Prpic.
The city is increasingly forced to trash those lids and containers, or risk having would-be buyers reject entire loads of “contaminated” plastic sorted at its Burlington Street recycling facility.
It’s a “market-driven” eco-dilemma, said Prpic. “Two years ago there was still a market for black plastic … it’s here today, gone tomorrow.”
For now, that means it may be better for the environment for you to directly trash those lids, meat trays and takeout containers, said Prpic, after updating councillors Monday on the blue box blues.
He said such recycling rejects have contributed to a spike in the blue box “contamination rate” from seven to 14 per cent over the last five years. Contamination includes nonrecyclable items like coffee pods, bread tabs and bottle caps, but also ruined recyclables covered in food waste, for example.
On the up side, it could be worse — Toronto is struggling with a contamination rate closer to 25 per cent. Coun. Sam Merulla asked staff to bring back a comparison report on how Hamilton stacks up against other cities in keeping compost and recyclables out of the dump. (Source: Hamilton Spectator) https://www.thespec.com/news-story/8579370-hamilton-s-blue-box-blues-recycling-ban-looms-for-coffee-lids-styrofoam/