Metro Morning

Toronto really wants you to stop wishcycling this holiday season

Improperly sorted recycling costs time and money — so think twice before you throw your dead boa constrictor into the blue bin.

Just because it fits in the blue bin, doesn't mean it belongs there

Pay more attention to what you can recycle and what you need to put in the trash, asks Jim McKay, general manager of solid waste management services for the City of Toronto. (Getty Images)

Jim McKay, general manager of solid waste management services for the City of Toronto, has just one Christmas wish this year: That people will think twice before they toss things in the blue bin.

Among the things people have tried unsuccessfully to recycle: Bowling balls, a dead boa constrictor, and a sofa. McKay and his team call it "wishcycling."

During the holidays, "we do see an increase" in improperly sorted recycling, McKay said on CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

"A lot of trash ends up in places where it shouldn't."

All that improperly sorted recycling costs the city — and taxpayers — money. McKay said bringing recycling contamination down by 5 per cent would save the city $2 million a year.

So what's a busy host to do?

If you aren't sure where to put something, McKay recommends the city's online tool, the waste wizard.

To help out, CBC has created a guide for a few of the most confusing items in your pile.

Paper wrapping paper, foil wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbons

Paper wrapping paper and paper gift bags are recyclable (provided all metal grommets, robe and ribbons are removed.) Foil wrapping and ribbon are garbage.


Aluminum foil and aluminum roasting pans

Aluminum foil goes in the garbage, while aluminum roasting pans are recyclable. Rigid aluminum foil can be recycled, so go figure. 


Real and fake Christmas trees

Real Christmas trees are collected by the city in January and shredded for compost or mulch. Fake Christmas trees can be donated, or placed two feet from your garbage bin on garbage collection day for pickup.


Corks and muselets

The city asks that you bring corks, whether they're wood, plastic, or real cork, to community environment days. Otherwise, they're trash. Muselets, the little cage that holds down the cork in champagne bottles, are also garbage.


With files from Metro Morning