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Jun. 23, 2021 | Wednesday
Editorials and Opinions
Going Green: Tips to reduce trash and increase recycling
Robin Jinchereau says these are some of the plastics that can be recycled in Niagara. Put them in your grey bin. (Gloria Jinchereau photo)

Robiin Jinchereau 
Special to The Lake Report

The Region of Niagara estimated in 2020 residents recycled about 56 per cent of our garbage waste. This was the motivation to move to every other week garbage collection for residents.

Catherine Habermebl, Niagara's director of waste management, says green bin usage increased in 2021 and the net result is 34 per cent more waste went into green bins and garbage bag waste fell 16 per cent.

With a little effort we could improve this further.  

Here are some tips for you to consider.

Reduce your consumption of single-use plastics. Instead of always buying a one-litre bottle of window cleaner with an aerosol pump, consider instead buying a four-litre bottle and refilling your smaller container.

Once the large bottle is empty it can go into your blue bin. This will save you money and help your environment. Of course, it goes without saying that all cans, bottles, glass jars and plastic items should go in your blue bin.

Did you know you could also put in clamshells such as sushi trays, vegetable and salad trays, detergent bottles, aluminum trays, aluminum foil, cookie tins, empty paint cans with the lid off?

If you need more information, go to niagararegion.ca to see if the item can go into your blue bin.

The grey bin is used for all paper and cardboard items. There is, however, one other type of item that you may not be aware can go in the grey bin: soft plastic bags and over wraps, the thick plastic that the pop cans are wrapped in when purchased.

In a clear bag, put things such as plastic wrap, bread bags, plastic bags, dry cleaning bags, outer wrap such as the ones used for paper towels, toilet paper and pop cans, and produce bags. If you’re unsure whether a type of plastic bag can be put in the grey bin, go to niagararegion.ca and have a look.

All of your kitchen scraps can go in the green bin, including bones, fats and skins – even bacon grease. You can also put in plant waste material, such as leaves or small weeds.

I keep all of my fat, bones and skin in a bag in the freezer and only place them in the green bin the night before collection.

Your dog’s waste can also go in the green bin, but the region says it must be wrapped in newspaper or placed in a certified compostable plastic bag. 

If you have unwanted medicines, such as birth control pills, high blood pressure pills or even analgesics, recycle them with your local pharmacist.

Under no circumstances should you flush them down the toilet or put them in your garbage. This is far too dangerous for the environment.

If you have compact discs, digital video discs, batteries, phones, electronic cables, holiday lights and other small electronics, drop them off for safe recycling at the regional depot at 5030 Montrose Rd. in Niagara Falls. Before you drop off, call 905-980-6000 to make sure the depot is open.

I hope this will help you reduce your waste, increase your recycling and help the planet.

Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Robin Jinchereau has degrees in human biology and business administration. He is retired from a long career in the pharmaceuticals industry and has been fascinated for the last 45 years about how to reduce waste.

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