When it comes to recycling, choosing the correct bin might often seem like a no-brainer, but there’s every chance you’re doing it wrong.
Whether it’s throwing your wine bottle with the lid still on it or leaving that unwanted crust in your pizza box, recyclable packaging can easily end up in landfill if it’s not disposed of correctly.
While the majority of the packaging may seem recyclable, items like tissue boxes that contain both cardboard and plastic film can cause some confusion.
A spokesperson for Organic Recycling Group told Yahoo7 News that there were misconceptions as to what you can get away with when it comes to food packaging.
“The pizza box is one of those questionable items, the fact is that if there are food scraps left in it will be contaminated,” he said.
City of Sydney Council’s waste strategy manager Kath McLaughlin told Yahoo7 News that the biggest mistake homeowners make is placing all their recyclables in a plastic bag before putting it in the yellow bin.
“When it comes to what you can recycle, plastics, glass or metal contaniers that are designed to be of single use can usually be recycled, you just have to make sure it is relatively dry and empty as a general rule,” she said.
“Where it does get confusing is that people separate all their waste and recycling, clean it, then place it in a great big plastic bag, tie it up and put it in the recycling.”
She said there is a manual sorter but they will not touch the plastic bag if they can’t see what is in there, so all the recyclable items would just end up in landfill.
Items that CAN be recycled
Newspapers and magazines – staples are fine
Tissue boxes – Remove plastic film
Greasy fast food packaging / food scraps– Make a judgement call, if there is a tiny bit of grease on your pizza box or KFC box, it can potentially still be recycled, but not if it is still filled with food scraps.
Advertising material – remove plastic wrap
Phone books – Fine to be recycled
Egg cartons – remove and discard shells
Envelopes – even those with clear plastic windows
Aluminium and steel tins/cans – emptied and rinsed
Aerosol cans – Fine to be recycled
Glass bottles and jars – emptied, rinsed and lids removed
Juice and milk cartons and bottles – emptied, rinsed and lids removed
Items that CAN’T be recycled
Clothes, fabrics, textiles — Can contaminate process and disturb machinery
Pringles tin – Composite items like your tin of deliciousness that contain metal parts, carboard and plastic are encouraged to be split up and disposed of accordingly.
Plastic bags – Contaminate recycling and jam machinery
Nappies – Contaminate recycling process and jam machinery
Batteries – Recycle any rechargeable and non-rechargeable AA, AAA, C, D or 9V battery at an ALDI store near you or find out when the next e-waste day is.
Polystyrene – Items such as meat trays and foam packaging should be placed in the garbage bin
Used tissue — While they may seem recyclable, they can contaminate the process
Light globes, mirrors and window glass – Garbage bin (red lid)
Crockery, drinking glasses and Pyrex – Garbage bin (red lid)
What do I do with my unwatned plastic bags?
While Coles and Woolworths have ramped up their respective wars on plastic by removing single-use plastic bags from their supermarkets, there’s no doubt some shoppers have been left with a cupboard full of them.
You can recycle soft plastics like bread bags, biscuit and confectionery packets, frozen food / rice / pasta bags, plastic bags and even old reusable bags at Coles by dropping them into the REDcycle collection bin at the supermarket. Your empty packaging will be recycled into useful new products like outdoor furniture.