SWANA releases factsheet in response to Canadian recycling myths

SWANA releases factsheet in response to Canadian recycling myths

The factsheet is in response to what the organization calls ‘misleading and confusing information reported about the state of recycling in Canada.’

Subscribe

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland, says it has developed a flyer that provides accurate data on the Canadian recycling market in response to what the organization calls “misleading and confusing information reported about the state of recycling in Canada.”

The challenges facing Canadian recycling increased when China imposed restrictions on the import of recovered plastics and paper in 2018. These restrictions have highlighted areas for improvement but have not changed the importance of recycling in Canada, the association says. However, SWANA says misinformation pertaining to the futility of recycling has been published “leading to unnecessary confusion.”

SWANA’s “Recycling: Myths vs. Facts” flyer addresses some of these misconceptions, including that recycling is “failing” or “collapsing” and that it isn’t worth the effort.

“There are abundant reasons to be optimistic about the future of recycling in Canada. Additional domestic processing capacity is coming online over the next few years in North America that will help correct the current imbalance between supply and demand for recovered paper and plastic,” SWANA CEO and Executive Director David Biderman says. “Also, many communities are focused on reducing contamination and recycling facilities are upgrading their equipment and slowing down their lines to produce higher quality material.”

The flyer addresses one of the most persistent myths surrounding recycling, the association says, which is that no one knows how to address the challenges that the industry is currently facing. SWANA says solutions are being implemented:

  • public education and enforcement of local rules that motivate citizens to recycle properly; 
  • recycling facilities embracing new technologies, such as robotics, to keep up with changing market requirements and material streams; 
  • new facilities opening and existing ones expanding to provide more demand for recyclables; and
  • manufacturers considering redesign, reuse and repair to address hard-to-recycle items.

“Although the recycling industry is currently having some difficulties marketing some of their materials, the industry isn’t broken,” says Art Mercer, SWANA incoming international secretary. “Materials are recycled into new products and this has many benefits, such as energy and resource conservation. Just because it is temporarily difficult to market some of the items, this is no reason to stop recycling and throw these items away, often filling up landfills. Also, we need to remember that we all have a responsibility to reduce the items we buy and throw away. Recycling is not the only solution.”

SWANA previously developed a similar flyer focused on recycling in the United States. Both flyers are available as part of SWANA’s downloadable Recycling Media Kit.