What Can You Really Put in Your Home Recycling Bin?
More than ever, homes around the country are trying their best to minimise waste and recycle as much as they can but there are so many misconceptions around recycling at home which in turn leads to minimising the efficiency of our day to day efforts.
So, what can we put in the bin and what is the best way to ensure it ends up being recycled?
Here is a list of all the green light items you can place in your recycling bin at home:-
• Cardboard including newspapers, magazines and paper
• Glass bottles and jars
• Plastic containers including milk bottles, ice-cream, margarine and yoghurt containers, fruit punnets and takeaway containers.
• Aluminium including soft drink and beer cans, foil trays and steel cans. Steel and Aluminium lids can also be recycled. Keep reading for tips!
• Tetra packs and gabled milk carton.
These items are not recyclable and should be placed in your normal garbage:-
• Plastic lids (Lids are too small to be picked up from the factory sorting machines. They need to be removed for a variety of reasons including keeping liquid in bottles that will contaminate a load, or weigh items down when machines rely on air to sort or even cause explosions from a build up of pressure causing bales to break and have to be rebound.
• Polystyrene trays
• Disposable cutlery which are the wrong shape and too small for the machines to sort. Some councils though will accept plastic plates.
• Scrunchable plastic. These can clog the conveyer belts and shut down the whole system in order to get them out.
• Recycling items placed in plastic bags. These will be discarded entirely given the staff just don’t have the time to open and sort. Place items loosely in your recycling bin.
• Paper coffee cups and takeaway packaging as they tend to have wax coatings that prevent them from being recycled
• Paper towels and napkins due to their high levels of contamination
• Some glass such as Pyrex, light globes, window glass etc
• Shredded paper! (who knew!) Due to the fact it is so small, it has the potential to clog the conveyor belts. Instead use in composting or as packaging.
• IT equipment
Some of the items we have listed as not being recyclable, can in fact be recycled through other means. There are some exciting initiatives and companies trying to make changes in a much needed area, so that recycling a wider range of products is more accessible than ever.
• Toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss containers can be recycled through TerraCycle
• Colgate offer a recycling program that they fund where they send out a zero-waste box to your home.
• Soft plastics (anything scrunchable) through Redcycle and can be located in most metro and regional supermarkets. Plastic bags, gladwrap, plastic food packaging, fruit netting and dry cleaning bags etc
• Polystyrene. Head to Planet Ark for more information or go to the Expanded Polystyrene Website
• Batteries can be recycled at participating Officeworks, Bunnings, Aldi and Batteryworld Stores at no cost. You can also find permanent drop off sites typically located at council depots as well as the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative.
• Officeworks allows up to 5 pieces of recycling including desktop computers, laptops, mice, printers and scanners etc.
So, there you have it! A complete list of dos and don’ts when it comes to recycling at home. If you have questions around what can and can’t be recycled, check with your local council as some councils and recycling facilities do differ. And don’t forget! There are so many other ways in which we can recycle with companies everyday coming up with intuitive and dynamic solutions for waste issues at home.
Here are some of our top tips for you to make your recycling efforts count!
• Steel and Aluminium Bottle tops can be recycled especially if they are bigger than a business card as the machines are more easily able to sort them. For smaller lids, simply wash free of contaminants and place in a vessel of similar material ie steel bottle tops in a clean can and press the can closed. This makes it easier for the magnets to pick and up and sort.
• Food and residue contamination can cause huge problems at recycling plants. Anything left behind in your containers can spread to other items. Contaminated items that end up being reused, reduce the quality of recycled products so before you put it in the bin, rinse it out at the end of your wash.
• If you are placing your beer, soft drink bottles and aluminium cans in the bin, why not make some money? Look for collection centres close to you such a Tomra. Tomra is an automated vending system where you deposit your recycling and get refunded via coupons or straight to your PayPal! This is a great incentive for kids to get involved and understand the importance of recycling.
• Minimising single use plastics and packaging will always have the biggest impact on our ever present war on waste. Look out for innovative ways to minimise single use items when out and about. Use reusable drink bottles and coffee cups, carry your own reusable cutlery and straws and say no to plastic bags.
And lastly, you can also seek out companies like Bygreen who are partnering with APCO, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation for advice and to purchase eco-friendly products. We are also working with companies such as Redcycle and The Plastic Police and many others, to ensure the items we sell are more ecofriendly. We are also working on the communication of materials used for production and how to recycle them as well as reducing the packaging these items are shipped and presented in. These steps will all help to reduce the harmful impact of packaging on the Australian Environment.
For a full list of companies who are pledging change, head to the APCO website.
Every little bit helps and can make a huge impact.