Most of us will generate 25 percent more waste during the holidays as compared to the rest of the year. During the excitement of the holidays, it’s easy to forget about the extra waste that is generated and how everyone can play an important part in reducing its impact on landfills.
When it comes to trimming waste and conserving resources, recycling plastic bottles is an action that every person can take to make a big difference.
Ensure your plastic bottles are recycled
Lightweight, shatter-resistant plastic beverage bottles are great to have on hand for holiday parties and other celebrations. But did you know that the material that these bottles are made from (Polyethylene terephthalate, or PET) makes them one hundred percent recyclable as well as safe to re-use?
PET is the type of plastic labelled with the # 1 polymer identification code on or near the bottom of bottles and containers. It is an essential part of our modern-day lifestyle as it plays a vital role in food safety, preservation and the efficient distribution of goods. In addition, its flexibility reduces breakages and its low weight means lower transport costs. It is also one of the most readily recycled plastics.
PET is a valuable resource and bottles made from PET should be reused and recycled whenever possible.
The following steps make it easy to contribute to a cleaner planet during any season:
- Don’t simply throw away anything made of PET with other rubbish or as litter on the street.
- Rinse PET containers, in your used dish water if possible, to avoid nasty smells and drawing unwelcome insects before you put them in a bag.
- Separate PET plastic items from other waste, and put them out separately in a clear bag on garbage collection day. The bag will be collected by the municipality or a PET collector.
- Take your clear bag of separated PET to your closest collection point or drop-off point if your municipality does not pick it up separately.
- Look out for special plastics collection containers at many public places such as shopping centres. These are clearly marked.
Bring recyclables back to where you can recycle them
- Practice patience. On the road this holiday season and can’t find a recycle bin? Don’t throw your empty bottles in the trash – temporarily store them in a purse or briefcase, or simply leave them in the car until arriving home to place in a recycle bin. And don’t forget to temporarily put the cap back on your bottle to prevent leakage until you can properly recycle it.
- When in doubt, leave it out! Keep in mind that mixing the wrong types of materials (even other plastics) can lower the quality of the recycled material. Check that there is no PVC shrink-wrap label on the bottle as this means that the container is not recyclable.
Don’t forget bags! There are many helpful ways to reuse plastic bags, including:
- Wet umbrella cover – keep other items in your bag dry when your umbrella is wet;
- Suitcase savers – wrap shoes before packing them with clean clothes;
- Hand protectors – place them over your hands to handle messes indoors and out;
- Kitchen clean-up – place them under the cutting board for quick scrap removal;
- Trash can liners – use them in bathrooms and other household waste baskets;
- Doggie duty – bring them on dog walks to collect and dispose of pet waste.
Keep in mind that today’s water bottle could be tomorrow’s little black dress or carpeting!