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What Junk Can Be Recycled?

Recycling in a bin
Recycling in a bin

At JUNKR, we are on a mission not only to provide a fast and efficient alternative to junk removal, but we’re also committed to reducing the impact of junk on the environment. We encourage our drivers to recycle items whenever possible, but sometimes it’s not clear what can and can’t be recycled.

Beyond regular household bottles, cans, and plastics, many larger items like appliances, electronics, and metals can also be recycled when JUNKR drivers drop items off at the appropriate donation or refuse centre. 

Items that can be recycled

 

Plastic Recycling

Since the 1950s, more than 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been generated around the world, and only 9% of those plastics have been recycled. While most plastic can be recycled, there are some restrictions on the type of plastics that are accepted. 

Plastic bags

Flexible plastics like shopping bags, garbage bags, saran wrap, Ziplocs, and bubble wrap can all be recycled. The general rule of thumb is that if a bag stretches it’s recyclable, while if it crinkles or tears it’s not. Crinkly packaging like frozen produce or chip bags cannot be recycled. 

 

Flexible plastics and plastic containers are easy to recycle and can be included in blue bins for city pick-up, or can be dropped off at community recycling centres.

Plastic containers

Plastic containers labeled 1-7 can also be recycled either by placing them in blue bins or by dropping them off at local community recycling centres. Common recyclable containers include milk jugs, yogurt tubs, laundry detergent jugs, plastic bottles, and beauty product packaging like shampoo and lotion bottles.  

To find the Calgary community recycling centre nearest you, visit the City of Calgary website

If you live outside of Calgary, visit Alberta Recycling to find a recycling depot near you.

Metal Recycling

Roughly 45% of the world’s steel production comes from recycled metal. Scrap metal and unusable metal items including car parts, aluminum siding, sheet metal, and metal fencing can all be recycled at one of the City of Calgary landfills. In some cases, private companies may even purchase scrap metal. 

You can find more information on scrap metal recycling in Calgary on the City website here

Electronics & Battery Recycling

Electronics are the fastest-growing type of waste in North America. Not only does electronic waste not decompose in landfills, it often contains hazardous materials, like lead, that can be harmful when not disposed of safely. Recycling electronics at city landfills and designated recycling depots is the safest way to dispose of old electronics. 

Many electronic stores will also accept old electronics, or you can check to see if the manufacturer offers a recycling program for your old electronics.

Visit the City of Calgary website for more information on where to recycle electronics in Calgary.  

Similarly to electronics, batteries contain heavy metals that can leach from landfills into drinking water, and need to be disposed of correctly. Luckily, most electronics stores accept regular household batteries for recycling at no charge. In Calgary, another option for battery recycling is Call2Recycle, an organization accepting a variety of batteries at drop-off locations around the city. 

Appliance Recycling

Large appliances that are no longer in working order can be recycled at city landfills in Calgary for a fee. Some companies in the city also accept and sometimes buy large appliances. 

Use Alberta’s Recycle Hotline to find organizations accepting your specific item.  

Mattress Recycling

Mattresses not only take decades to break down, but they also have a compaction rate of 400% less than regular garbage, making them a huge strain in landfills. Unfortunately, mattresses are one of the few items that are not collected at city refuse centres, but there are still plenty of options for responsibly disposing of them. If a mattress is still in good condition, free of stains, rips or wear, it can likely be donated to a charity. The Women in Need Society and the Calgary Drop-In Centre both accept mattress donations in good condition. 

If your mattress is broken or damaged and not suitable for donation, there are some independent options available for recycling, like Re-Matt. Re-Matt is a local organization in Calgary that recycles old mattresses for a small fee.

Find out more here: http://www.re-matt.com/

Clothing & Textile Recycling

Did you know that North Americans send 10 million tonnes of clothing and textiles to the landfill every year? Astonishingly, 95% of that waste could be reused or recycled. In Calgary, several charities accept gently worn items that can be re-worn, including Diabetes Canada and the Women In Need Society,  which have drop-off bins and locations around the city.

For damaged clothing or fabrics, you can learn more about the City of Calgary’s clothing recycling policies here

Tire Recycling

Recycling tires not only has positive environmental benefits, but the uses for recycled tires are endless. 90% of tires are recycled into new products including playground surfaces, athletic tracks, and industrial flooring. Most often when you purchase a new set of tires at a tire shop, your old tires will be donated for recycling, but if you change your own tires and end up with a surplus of tires, they can easily be recycled for free at Calgary city landfills in the designated “Throw’n’Go” area. 

Deciding when to donate and when to recycle

While most items can be donated to organizations for reuse, deciding when to donate versus when to recycle comes down to your judgment. Making sure that items are donated or recycled appropriately is not just helpful to the organizations and staff who sort and test items, but it ultimately minimizes the impact on landfills, by diverting working or reusable items from landfills.

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