July 29, 2013

canadian quirk #4: recycling

While some differences between Canada and America have taken some time to get used to, this is one that I welcome with open arms. Canada has an impressive recycling initiative that puts to shame what I've seen in the United States. Orlando, the last city I lived in, had no recycling program whatsoever; shameful for such a heavily populated place and a horrible burden to put on its citizens. Every time I threw a water bottle in the trash, a fairy lost its wings.

But Canada has afforded me the opportunity to make up for my ecological errors by conveniently creating trash bins that include slots for recyclables. Whether you're at Tim Horton's, the mall, or a city sidewalk, there's almost always the option to either throw away or recycle your trash. There's even a small hole specifically for cigarette butts on the trash bins in Toronto.

Photo: can-restaurantnews.com
Photo: spacing.ca
It's my understanding that the only parts of Canada without recycling programs are those in the tundra, such as Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and also New Brunswick. This is forgivable considering the combined population of those three regions is approximately 825,000 - significantly less than the population of America's smallest state, Rhode Island. (Side note: This gives you an idea of just how incredibly populated the U.S. is compared to Canada. Canada has 280 million fewer people than America despite it being larger in land mass. I believe this population gap is what 99% of the cultural differences between the two countries stems from.)

I do understand that because of Canada's relatively small population that large-scale recycling programs are more manageable than those in America. Nonetheless, it's an effort I appreciate and am very happy to be a part of. No more fairies need die on my account.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are that of an American expat living in Canada. These are merely observations and commentary based on my experiences living in both countries. 

Visit our ever-expanding list of Canadian quirks here.


  1. Love this series! If you live in a house here, you're also expected to separate compost waste and put it in a green bin for collection each week. For this reason, garbage is only collected once every two weeks!

    1. Wow, really? Once every two weeks? That's incredible! Very impressive.


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