Plastic and paper cleavage

February 22, 2009

frenchrabbitwinesfamily

There’s an ongoing debate, it seems, about whether Tetra Paks are recyclable. Although most municipal recycling depots insist they are (personally, I’m not sure how the plastic-coated cardboard gets separated from the inner foil lining, but I’ll suspend my disbelief for the time being), what I’m wondering is: What happens to all of those Tetra Paks that come with hard plastic screw-caps on top? Most juice boxes are made from a single material, but wine cartons have what look to be #5 polypropylene caps, presumably to keep them fresher and make pouring easier.

Now, because I’m kind of a recycling nerd, I take the time to find my pair of scissors and cut these things off before rinsing the empty carton and tossing it into the blue bin. I do the same with milk cartons that have this because, again, I don’t see how a paper-based material could ever be properly recycled with plastic attached to it. I even make sure to separate my #5 yogurt containers from their #6 (I think) lids, and harass my parents on a regular basis about detaching plastic handles from paper bags and shoelace drawstring handles from plastic bags (thank-you, GAP) before putting them in their proper disposal unit.

Recently, the city of Toronto began talking about ways to discourage people’s use of disposable coffee cups; apparently, while it is possible to recycle the paper cup, this can’t be done when the plastic lid is attached — this is a big problem at the sorting plant.

So is my anxiety over decapitating every single Tetra Pak of wine, every Ceres juice box, every milk carton and yogurt container justified? Should the government be forcing manufacturers to start offering products in single-material packages? Or do most things get recycled, regardless of whether they’re clean or dirty, separate or joined together? And is there anyone besides me who can be found stabbing juice boxes with a pair of scissors every Tuesday morning before the recycling trucks come?

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Bottle to lip service (Day 263)…

November 18, 2007

At high school parties, most of my friends would drink beer or cider, doing the occasional shot of tequila to keep things interesting (and yes, we drank underage, but the drinking age in Ontario is 19 so it wasn’t that bad). I was never much of a fizzy-booze fan, though, so I’d usually show up with a bottle of juicy wine and drink from that all night like the classy girl I was.

These days, I’m snobby enough to care about whether my wine is in the appropriate glass and subsequently how clean that glass is. But in the name of conserving water, I’m going to go fully white trash and just drink from the bottle — this’ll go for beer and liquor, too.

One big caveat: This only applies when I’m in the privacy of my own home; I’m not about to start swigging from a $50 bottle of Beaujolais while on a date at a fancy restaurant or anything.