Recycling Demystified

Recycling demystified and questions answered

There’s been a lot of discussion about recycling in Peterborough lately.  I’d like to help everyone better understand how to recycle materials in the most efficient and effective ways.

The city of Peterborough’s website features helpful and informative tips on recycling, and if you are not sure if something is recyclable, you can easily find out ‘What goes where?’ by using the handy tool on the recycling page that allows you to type in and then choose your item from a drop down menu.  Once your item is selected, a full description of how to deal with it follows.

Also on that recycling page is a cheat sheet chart showing how to ‘sort it out’ using a blue box for paper products and another blue box for containers.  

Just a reminder that the city recommends people use 2 blue boxes to separate out their recyclables – one for containers and the other for paper products – so it’s easier for staff at the recycling depot to sort items properly and ensure items are recycled and do not end up in the garbage.

If you find that your blue boxes are too full and your recycling is blowing out of the box, extra blue boxes are available at the following locations for only $3 apiece!  There are no limits to the number of curb side bins.

  • City Hall, 500 George St. N.
  • Materials Recycling Facility, 390 Pido Rd. (cash only)
  • GreenUP store, 378 Aylmer St. N.

Have fun and learn more about recycling by playing the city’s new Waste Sorting Game where you drop and drag items sorting them into categories like: the drop-off depot, blue bin for containers or paper, your backyard composter, green wast or landfill.  Especially fun for kids, the game rewards you at the end of each level by allowing you to add features to your very own park – including a dinosaur (Yes, I played it a few times…).

If you have other issues or concerns about recycling, why not use the city’s online form?  Go to: On the home page, look for the link to Report and underneath it, click on the option Concern or Issue. From there, just complete the online form and submit. 

Besides these online tools, here are answers to a few common questions people may have about recycling:

Can I use Plastic Bags to hold my recyclables?

Yes, we don’t want your light items to blow around and become litter! 

Your newspapers and magazines can go into a plastic bag, but don’t tie it, and don’t add other paper items like paper towels or Kleenex.

All office weight paper and envelops can go into a plastic bag (you don’t even have to remove the staples), but again, don’t tie it!

Books can be recycled too, but hard covers must be removed and the remainder of the book placed in your blue bin, not with your other paper items.

Film plastic can be bagged along with other plastic bags,toilet paper wrap, dry-cleaning bags, milk and bread bags, etc.  This bag needs to be tied!

All of the paper products and film plastic go into the same blue bin, and this bin is separate from containers.

Can I recycle Styrofoam?

Yes, white Styrofoam is recyclable, however it cannot be picked up at the curb side on your regular recycling day.  Large amounts of packing Styrofoam, such as when you buy a new computer, TV or other small appliance, can be taken to Peterborough’s Materials Recycling Facility at 390 Pido Rd.

However, Styrofoam egg cartons, cups, and take-out containers are not recyclable.

Can I recycle aluminum foil?

Yes, you can. Clean aluminum foil can be recycled, but be sure to rinse off any food residues. Pop cans and tin cans, such as those for soups or pet food, can also be recycled, but clothes hangers cannot and neither can potato chip bags.

 Can I recycle glass?

Glass bottles and jars, both clear and coloured, are recyclable although you must remember to recycle the package and not the product. Rinse your containers if they have traces of food left inside. Jars with leftover sauce stuck to the inside are treated as contaminated and must be tossed out. Rinsing before recycling will ensure that glass jars will be recycled once they arrive the recycling facility.

Broken picture frames and windows cannot be recycled at curb side. They must go in the garbage.

Can I recycle a straw?

Showing a reusable straw kit with cleaning brush and case
Reusable straws are available at many stores carrying personal health and/or earth friendly products

No, straws cannot be recycled. Many plastics such as straws, cheese string wrappers and Saran wrap are not recyclable. These “soft” plastics are a combination of plastic materials that are impossible to break down.   

Try using fewer of these plastic straws in favour of no straw, a recyclable type (paper) available at some local cafés and restaurants or purchase a reusable straw with a bendable extension and cleaning brush.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.