Okay, the headline is a bit bold – but we hope it got your attention.
The kid and baby industry is overflowing with products meant to make our lives easier and our kids healthier and safer. While the products themselves might deliver on these promises, the way that they were made and packaged is nothing but garbage – literally.
I am no where near Zero Waste status but I have definitely taken on the title of the Waste Wizard in our house. Questions on what goes into which bin always get diverted to me.
And in Toronto, the incorrect placement of items in the black, blue and green bins is a huge concern. Disposable items, like black plastics or single use coffee cups, tossed into the blue bins ruin the recyclables, sending the whole lot to the landfill.
But it’s not just the sorting that’s the problem, it’s the buying. As we load up on snacks or purchase the latest and greatest and newest product for our kids in TOw, where does the super convenient packaging go once we’re done?
So we looked at some of the commonly used kids and baby stuff and with the help of the City of Toronto’s Waste Wizard (online or the TOwasteApp), we put together this list on the garbage that you may think is recyclable.
The Kids in T.O. Cheat Sheet on Baby and Kid Waste:
JUICE BOXES: Juice boxes are recycle, straws are garbage.
SNACKS: Mums-mums, granola bars, individually wrapped cookies, cheddar fish and chip bags, etc. While the box is recycling all the individually wrapped packaging is garbage.
CEREAL, CRACKERS AND COOKIES: Same thing. While the boxes are recyclable the liners and cookie trays are not.
FROZEN FOOD BOXES: Garbage
GUM: Garbage. The most commonly found small litter item in the City of Toronto litter audit is gum (approximately 25 per cent of all small litter), followed by cigarette butts (22 per cent.)
PLASTIC LOTION, SHAMPOO, SOAP TUBES: All garbage.
BABY WIPES: Whether it’s branded flushable or not, they are all garbage.
COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC: I am a little bit shocked at this one. While you think you’re being all green buying biodegradable plastic cups for your next picnic party, compostable plastic garbage.
CLING WRAP AND LAMINATED PLASTIC: Stand-up re-sealable pouch bags like those for frozen fruit and fries and the wrapping of pre-packaged items like cheese and meat all go into garbage. (Ziploc bags are recyclable – foil food wrap is garbage.)
FRUITS AND VEGGIES IN BLACK PLASTIC AND MESH BAGS: Black plastics of any kind, such as take-out containers and black garbage bags aren’t accepted in the City’s recycling program. Put them in the garbage.
LEFTOVERS: Any food residue on paper or plastic are to be sent to garbage. Food residue gets soaked up by paper and can ruin large batches of otherwise good recyclables. Food scraps are green bin and rinsed plastic containers go in blue bin (unless they are black plastic).
TOYS: If you can’t pass them along to another kid in TOw, it’s garbage. Even if they are made of plastic.
CARSEATS: Infant, booster and kid carseats all head to the landfill. Before you toss them curbside, recycle via this GTA-based ATMO Recycling Ltd.
CLOTHING AND TEXTILES: Stained onesies, holey socks, old runners do not go in the blue bin as they can get caught in sorting machines, damage equipment and cause workplace injuries at the recycling facility. They are garbage.
DISPOSABLE CUPS: Coffee cups, hot chocolate cups, fast food drinks (and the straws) go into the garbage. Yes, most disposable hot beverage cups are made of paper (and often with a recycling arrow because they were made from recycled paper) BUT they are lined with plastic or wax, making them garbage. Black plastic lids are all garbage. (Non-black plastic lids and paper sleeves can be put in the Blue Bin or recycling compartments of street bins.)
Did you know: A City of Toronto 2016 report revealed 375 different brands of litter, with Tim Horton’s items being the most common, accounting for 15.8% of all branded litter. Other top brand names include McDonald’s at 7.4%, Nestle at 4.5% and TTC at 2.9%.
So, what is Recyclable? Here is a list of what can go into your Blue Bin in Toronto.