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Do I need to take the paper labels off of glass bottles and jars?

Yes. Although the recycling process for glass bottles and jars has been developed so that labels are removed prior to the heating phase, removing labels from glass at home allows you to recycle those labels as well. However, be attentive, as removing these labels can be wasteful of water. If you use a dishwasher to clean bottles and jars prior to recycling them, the labels fall off during that process, or are easily removable afterwards. If you do not use a dishwasher, simply remove as much of the label as you can, and place it in the paper products compartment of your recycling bin.

Do I need to remove the paper labels from tin cans?

Possibly. It was once necessary to remove paper labels in Quebec, as paper contaminants in the melting process can cause flash fires in the furnace when recycling, posing a hazard to employees. It also produces impurities in the end product. However the Montreal area now offers to remove the labels themselves at the recycling plant. It may be necessary to remove the labels if you live outside the Montreal area, check with your local municipality to be certain.

Do I need to remove staples and paper clips before I can recycle paper?

No. During the paper recycling process, pulp is passed through numerous screens to remove staples and other contaminants. Any large metal fasteners or staples such as those from corrugated cardboard should be removed.

Do I need to wash the plastic and metal containers I put in my recycling box?

Yes. Any plastic and metal container with residual contents must be cleaned. Many small food containers can readily be washed in the dishwasher. If you don't have a dishwasher, these can be rinsed by hand. Rinsing soiled containers helps to prevent mould and unpleasant odors and results in a more healthy work environment for those working with recyclable materials. However, it is important not to waste water while recycling. The least amount of water possible should be used to do this job.

Do I have to crush or flatten plastic or carton containers?

No. However, flattening recyclables will free up space at all stages in the recycling process including freeing up space for more recyclable material in your recycling boxes.

Why can't we recycle light bulbs, windowpanes or Pyrex with glass?

Each of these products has a different melting point, making it difficult to make glass bottles from mixing them.

Can I put broken glass bottles and jars into my recycling box?

No. Broken glass is considered a handling hazard for both recycling and garbage operations and is therefore deemed an item for garbage. However, Montreal Ecocenters do accept broken glass as well as many other household hazardous waste products.

Do I have to remove the plastic window out of window envelopes before recycling them?

No. Most window envelopes are made out of water-soluble paper fiber.

Can I recycle Styrofoam, wax paper, and other food wrappers and containers?

No. These are non-recyclable items. Anything contaminated with food cannot be recycled.

Can I recycle my pizza boxes?

No. Anything contaminated with animal fat is not recyclable. However, these can be composted.

* Sources: Coquitlam & Regional District of Central Kootenay