If you have ever placed a wrong item in your recycling bag in the hope that it can be recycled, then you are guilty of wish-cycling or wishful recycling.
This wishful thinking combined with the guilt of producing more and more waste is sometimes difficult to overcome. That is probably why, around 25% of your recycling bag is made up of non-recyclable materials. Outside of the typical greasy pizza box, WasteServ also finds considerable amounts of organic waste, glass, textiles, electronic waste, medical and sanitary waste, and even DIY materials such as wood scraps, tiles and rubble.
Despite the good intentions, wishful recycling leads to contamination of materials. When non-recyclable materials are mixed with recyclable materials, it makes it more difficult for the workers to manually sort the recyclables. This also downgrades the overall quality of the recyclables decreasing both their value and the options to turn them into new materials.
Next time instead of crossing your fingers, make sure you throw in only clean plastic, metal, paper and cardboard in your recycling bag. Here are some of the things you can recycle to help you get started: soft drink cans, food tins, cardboard, newspapers, leaflets, magazines, cereal boxes, paper bags, all plastic bottles, and plastic packaging.
WasteServ has published a Waste Separation Guide to help everyone become better at waste separation which can be downloaded from their website: wsm.com.mt/guide. In the meantime, here is how you should dispose of the most common incorrect items found in the recycling bag:
Waste Separation Guide
All fruit and vegetable peelings, any uneaten food and plate scrapings, bread and pastries, cooked meat including bones, fish, mouldy or expired food without its packaging, non-liquid dairy products, eggs and eggshells, rice, pasta, beans, tea bags and coffee grounds should all go in the white biodegradable organic bags. Non-food items which can also be thrown in this bag include napkins soiled with food and very small garden waste like flowers and leaves but no twigs.
Organic waste is collected every week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Glass bottles and glass jars can be taken out for door-to-door collection, taken to a Civic Amenity Site or to the Roadshow Truck. You can also make use of the iBins and Bring-In-Sites that are available around Malta and Gozo.
Make sure you rinse your glass bottles and jars to avoid any contamination and don’t forget to remove any caps and metal lids as these belong in your recycling bag.
Clothes, bedsheets, curtains, shoes, and bags that are in good condition can be donated, taken to one of the Roadshow Trucks or placed in the Clothes Banks in your locality.
Electric and electronic waste consist of any items that have a plug, use batteries, or require charging. These include home appliances such as fridges, ovens and washing machines, hairdryers, electric toothbrushes, shavers, radios, CD/DVD players, electronic toys and games, phones, TVs, printers and cameras. Such items can be taken to one of our Civic Amenity Sites. You can also make use of the bulky waste collection service offered free of charge by your respective Local Council.
Appliances that are not bigger than 50cm can be taken to the Roadshow Trucks.
Medical and Sanitary Waste
Any unwanted or expired medicine, bottled medicine, inhalers and medicinal cream tubes can be taken to an authorised pharmacy where special bins are available. The list of pharmacies offering this service can be found on WasteServ’s website. Syringes and EpiPen devices, on the other hand, must be placed in a special sharps disposal containers and taken to one of our Civic Amenity Sites.
Before disposing of any medicines, be sure to remove all medicine packaging, information leaflets, and any plastic caps, cups or spoons. You can dispose of these in your recycling bag. However, tablet and capsule packaging must be disposed in the black bag.
Cosmetics, personal hygiene products, face masks and nappies should also be thrown in the black bag.
Building rubble, plasterboard, tiles and wood scraps from your home renovation projects should be taken to a Civic Amenity Site.
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