It took a group of Grade 3 and 4 students to convince Toronto City Council that recycling popular clamshell plastic packaging is a worthy pursuit.
The Jackman Avenue Junior Public School students often encounter the packaging when eating items like take-out sandwiches or grocery store pastries. But when the youngsters learned the packaging wasn’t on the City’s recyclabes list, they took to pen and paper to protest.
After City councillors forwarded the kids’ letter to Vincent Sferrazza, the City’s acting general manager of solid waste management, he penned a response to the Jackman kids.
“We … need to make changes to our sorting plant to be able to sort all the clamshell containers from the other materials,” he wrote. “We are currently planning these changes and expect to add clamshell containers to the City’s recycling program within the next year.”
The City of Toronto had in fact already been exploring the possibility of adding clamshell containers to its recyclabes list. Many different types of plastic are used for the clamshells, so the City has been working closely with retailers to help get the plastic down to one specific type that would use polyethylene terephthalate, a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family.
The childrens’ plea simply brought a new sense of priority to the process, City staff explained.
At a recent spring concert, the Jackman kids made a castle by gluing a large number of the plastic clamshell containers together. They said it showed just how many of the used containers can be generated by just one small group of kids.
About 50 per cent of clamshells are now recycled as part of a pilot project at Toronto’s Dufferin transfer station. It uses optical sorting machines that can identify the correct type of plastic. The City says the other 50 per cent will be added in May 2013, once equipment is upgraded at a second recycling station.
------This article originally appeared on ecolog.com, September 7, 2012------