Topic: rethink recycling

Compostable plastics often go to landfill. Here's one venue that gets them composted

Certified compostable plastic cups, cutlery and other packaging are not, in fact, composted by most residential organics programs in Canada. Here’s how some businesses and commercial composters are making sure those products stay out of the landfill and go back to the soil.

Plant-based? Compostable? What you need to know about bioplastics

Plastics made from fossil fuels generate a lot of greenhouse gas emissions and waste. 'Bioplastics,' especially compostable plastics made from plants, have been touted as a greener alternative. But what are they really? And are they really more environmentally friendly? Here’s a closer look.

What really happens to plastic drink bottles you toss in your recycling bin

The recycling symbol may give the comforting impression that your plastic pop or water bottle will be recycled into other plastic bottles again and again. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance it won’t become even one new bottle. Here’s what really happens — and what's needed to boost recycling.

The problem with Ontario's plan to ban food waste from landfills

Ontario generates millions of tonnes of food and organic waste a year, and a majority of it ends up in the landfill. That could create a big problem if a ban on organic waste in landfills goes into effect three years from now.

What really happens to the organic waste you put in your compost bin

In many communities, residents are asked to separate food waste into bins for municipal composting. Here's a closer look at what actually gets composted and how, what happens to the rest, and where it all ends up.

We asked 3 companies to recycle Canadian plastic and secretly tracked it. Only 1 company recycled the material

After several instances of Canadian plastic waste turning up overseas in places like the Philippines and Malaysia, CBC's Marketplace wanted to track the lifecycle of Canadian plastic.

How our waste winds up in places like Malaysia and the Philippines

Many Canadians have been surprised — and unhappy — to learn that Canada sends vast amounts of its recyclable waste overseas. CBC explains what happens after we throw our recycling in the bin.

This is what happens to the e-waste you drop off for recycling

Here's what happens to the electronic items you bring to recycle, and why you can't just throw them in the garbage.

Most styrofoam isn't recycled. Here's how 3 startups aim to fix that

Styrofoam has been nicknamed “public enemy No. 6” because it's more likely to be landfilled or washed into the ocean than recycled. But three Canadian startups are launching technology that aims to make discarded polystyrene containers, packaging and products a resource that everyone wants to recycle.

Greener straws? Bacteria help turn food waste into compostable plastic

What if plastic were made from waste like banana peels instead of petroleum? And what if, after use, that plastic decomposed? A Canadian cleantech startup aims to make that the future of food packaging such as coffee pods.

6 ways to do takeout — without the waste

Takeout is a great way to skip cooking and the dishes. But it often comes with a side of guilt about all the waste.

Nestlé, Tim Hortons named Canada's top plastic polluters

Much of the plastic trash cleaned up from Canadian shorelines by volunteers in September could be traced back five companies: Nestlé, Tim Hortons, PepsiCo, the Coca-Cola Company and McDonald's, an audit led by Greenpeace Canada has found.

G7 countries eye waste-to-energy incineration as part of plastic pollution solution

What to do with all those non-recyclable plastic forks, toys and broken patio chairs in our garbage? Canada and its G7 partners say burning such plastics for energy could be part of the solution. But it's controversial. Here's a look at the pros and cons, and where the technology is going.

'We can't wait': Why more Canadians are finally getting serious about making less garbage

A growing number of Canadian consumers and businesses are taking action against single-use plastics, even before this week's meeting of G7 environment ministers in Halifax. And there's a fresh understanding that biodegradable and compostable plastics are a problem, too.

How 'greener' plastic packaging became a problem — and how to fix it

Non-recyclable plastic pouches have replaced tonnes of recyclable cans, jars, boxes and bags on supermarket shelves, partly because they're considered 'greener.' Here's how they became a problem — and how companies are trying to make them more sustainable.

How one Canadian food court eliminated 117 bags of garbage a day

A food court in Toronto has cut the amount of garbage it produced from 120 bags a day to just three. Here’s how they did it, and what other fast food vendors, food courts and their customers can do to cut back on fast food waste.

111 million tonnes of plastic waste will have nowhere to go by 2030 due to Chinese import ban: study

Earlier this year, China stopped taking much of the world's recyclable plastic waste. Now a new study suggests that by the year 2030, an estimated 111 million tonnes of plastic waste will be "displaced" as a result of the policy.

This is what a recycling crisis in Quebec looks like

Sherbrooke’s recycling plant, Recup-Estrie is drowning in a sea of untreated plastic, paper and metal after a dispute with its sorting company shut down operations for nearly two weeks.

In trendy Malibu, a plastic straw in your cocktail could cost $500

In the coastal California community of Malibu, a plastic straw in your cocktail could cost $500. A citywide ban on single-use plastic items went into effect at the start of the month as the global anti-plastic movement grows.

Here's where your donated clothing really ends up

Your old jeans may end up selling at a local thrift shop, but they're more likely to be cut into rags, or shipped overseas to a market in Kenya or a reprocessing plant in India.

'Embracing decay': Why some people think it's time to talk about recycling humans

Some people believe cremating our dead or burying them in caskets is an insult to nature, which is why they are seeking a more natural final resting state.

10 kinds of packaging that are a pain in the blue box

Confused about what can and can't go in your blue box? These 10 kinds of packaging pose a challenge for recycling programs. Here's a look at why and what the solutions might be.

How crematoriums are recovering precious metals from inside the dead

A Dutch firm has created a system through which it compensates cremation facilities for recovering recyclable parts from dead bodies, such as titanium hips and knees, stainless steel bone screws — even gold teeth.

How to recycle the 'unrecyclable,' from cigarette butts to squeeze pouches

If you’re feeling guilty about the mountains of coffee pods or squeeze pouches you’re tossing in the trash, there are ways recycle those and many other “unrecyclable” items. Here’s how — and why it isn’t being done by everyone, everywhere.

Pay-as-you-throw fees and 4 more ways to reduce waste

There are lots of ways to motivate everybody — including people who don’t care about the environment — to reduce their waste, says a report from the Ottawa-based Smart Prosperity Institute.

Sustainable design, second-hand clothes: How you can become a conscious fashion shopper

From local, small-scale designers to huge corporations, it seems everyone wants to be on the sustainable fashion bandwagon. Here are some tips for how the average shopper can get on board.

'We need to rethink the entire plastics industry': Why banning plastic straws isn't enough

Disposable plastic straws are about to be banned throughout Britain. Here’s what’s happening with straws in Canada and a closer look at what impact such bans could really have.

Winnipeg, you're recycling wrong: Common misconceptions about what can go in blue bins

If a container comes with one of those little triangle recycling symbols, it stands to reason it can be recycled. But thanks to changing market forces, it turns out that stamp of approval is misleading many Manitobans and turning whole loads of recycled materials into trash.

City approves $135K solar-powered recycling bins, trash compactors

On Monday, the City of Winnipeg's innovation committee approved a pilot project that will see 15 solar-powered trash and recycling compacting receptacles set up around the city.

Tired of overflowing garbage and blue bins, Winnipeg family zeroes in on waste reduction

The Anderson-Johnsons have always recycled, but it's only in the past few years the Winnipeg family of five has embarked on a journey to reuse and reduce in a major way.

Recycling the right way

A few simple tips that will help you avoid contaminating your recycling bin

Why products marked 'recyclable' sometimes aren't

Just because an item is labelled "recyclable" doesn’t mean you should put it in your recycling bin. Here’s why, and what what to do about it.

Many Canadians are recycling wrong, and it's costing us millions

Canadians are throwing too much garbage into their blue bins, sometimes with the best of intentions. It’s a problem costing millions of dollars and making many would-be recyclables unrecyclable.

Canadian municipalities struggling to find place for recyclables after China restricts foreign waste

China’s new rules that seriously restrict or straight out ban foreign waste have Canadian municipalities struggling to find places to ship their recyclables.

China is no longer world's dumping ground, but cleaning up its own backyard is proving to be a challenge

China has a plan designed to clean up the world's biggest pile of waste, one that's been building across the country for decades

Your lifestyle is making blue box recycling unsustainable

Do you read your news online? Enjoy takeout? Live in an apartment building? Canadians’ changing lifestyles have transformed what we put in the blue bin. And that’s led to big challenges — and ballooning costs — for municipal recycling programs.

What really happens to old clothes dropped in those in-store recycling bins

There’s a new clothing donation bin in town, competing with charities for your unwanted clothes. Some of the biggest brands in fashion have launched take-back programs with messages about reusing and recycling your unwanted textiles. But what are the odds your old clothes will actually be transformed into new threads?