Let me start with the fact that I’m not originally from New Brunswick. I’m not sure if people who are find it any easier to understand the whole “Wet-Dry” waste system they have here, but it’s always been a bit mysterious to me. Usually when I go to throw something out it ends up coming down to a guessing game on my part. Up until today, the best description I had heard of how to sort things was if you wouldn’t want it put on your head, it goes in the wet bin.
I figure the best first step to reducing my consumer waste is learning what happens to the things I already throw out. It will be no good buying things I think are “recyclable” if New Brunswick doesn’t recycle it, and it may be possible to reduce my waste simply from sorting my trash properly.
An example of something I find especially difficult to sort is used bags of milk. My distribution of this is more or less completely random. Sometimes I rinse it out, some times I don’t, sometimes I put it in wet, sometimes I put it in dry.
Apparently the waste management system in New Brunswick is run by Westmoreland Albert Solid Waste Corporation. They have some, but dated (the most recent date I can find is 2004), useful information on their website about what to do in your home. For example, apparently I’ve been doing things wrong for the bottom styrofoam platters that come with meats at the grocery store (the styrofoam apparently gets rinsed and put in the Dry, not the Wet garbage). The City of Moncton’s website states that Westmoreland recycles 51% of consumer waste.
Top things I’ve learned about Wet-Dry recycling:
- It’s important to rinse/clean items before putting in the dry
- Milk bags do go into the dry after all!
- Sorting actually does make a big difference and isn’t just all thrown into the landfill (which was a rumor I had heard around town)
They have a cheat sheet that I’m going to post on my apartment’s fridge (using paper which isn’t very environmentally friendly, but I’ll at least try to find some recycled paper) so that we can more properly sort our garbage. Apparently proper cleaning and sorting of the home waste helps keep other items from being contaminated and/or not properly recycled. I was a bit disappointed to not be able to find any specific information on things that can’t be recycled. The best I found was that normally recyclable things that are contaminated are sent to the landfill.
So small first steps, but at least a beginning of being more aware and reducing my consumer waste.