Do not recycle these common plastic recycling contaminants

May 11, 2018 | News

Three common contaminants in mixed container recycling: specimen containers, urinals, and no-needle syringes.Three common contaminants in mixed container recycling: specimen containers, urinals, and no-needle syringes.

Sometimes it’s not enough to simply consider the material an item is made from — such as hard plastic — and know whether it can be recycled.

Why are some hard plastic items not recyclable?

Some hard plastic items can’t be recycled because of their intended use in a health care setting. Health care generates biomedical waste, which poses a higher risk to recycling and health care staff.

What if the items are clean, empty, or unused?

If a hard plastic item is intended for the collection or storage of bodily waste, it must be perceived as a potential health risk even if it has been emptied or cleaned, or not used. It cannot be recycled.

Containers intended for bodily fluids, like urinals, are sometimes used for other (non-body) purposes. However, recycling staff — who sort the containers by hand — won’t know how the container was used. Therefore, all such containers must be treated as if used for their intended purpose. They must be disposed of in garbage bins.

Why is this so important?

Correctly sorting health care waste allows us to:

  • keep staff safe
  • prevent recyclable materials from being contaminated with non-recyclable waste
  • manage waste disposal costs
  • comply with waste regulations

Which hard plastic items belong in the garbage?

The following plastic items can't be recycled and belong in garbage bins, even if empty, clean, or used for non-bodily specimens:

  • urinals
  • specimen containers
  • syringes (even without the needle)

Where can I go to for more information?

Visit GreenCare Community’s Recycling Questions page for more information on which items can be recycled.

Questions?

 

Related Articles

Add new comment