Torontonians today are not paying enough attention to what they can and can’t recycle. Approximately 26% of all recycling filtered through the city of Toronto’s recycling programme is contaminated. That’s more than five times the contamination rate of Vancouver. Even the few milliliters of juice at the bottom of your fruit cup or the mere crumbs from your breakfast bar can soil an entire load of recycling. It is estimated than one third of recycling in Toronto is contaminated and, therefore, deemed unsalvageable. Why do we have such an issue with correctly sorting our waste? Is it because of ignorance or do people feel it to be too trivial to be bothered?
Not only is it wasteful, but this malpractice has led to serious economic consequences. The lack of respect for the rules of recycling is seen daily at the processing plants where workers have come across “[things] like IV tubing. Things like needles and sharps. Things like dead animals. Things like bullets. Things like bear spray," (Badger). The things found in the recycling plant may be comical, but the cost for taxpayers is quite the opposite. Each percentage point of increase in the contamination of recycling costs up to 1 million dollars extra to sort and ship off to the proper location. The programme is government funded, so, yes, that means 1 million dollars worth of your money.
So next time you complain about the extra cost of green energy on Canadian households, think about the money going to waste each time you disregard the rules of recycling. If you don’t care for the environment, care for your wallet.