National Recycling Week is an opportunity for us all to check that we are sorting and separating our waste correctly, and maximising the recycling of our valuable resources.
We are all getting quite good at recycling, and if we follow a few simple rules for our yellow lid bin, we will certainly improve on that! This includes:
- Place items in loose, never in bags
- Empty and rinse items to ensure they are free from food or liquid
- Ensure lids are off containers – but remember that all metal lids also go in the yellow lid bin loose
Contamination of the yellow lid bin contents is one of the major reasons many items end up in landfill. Contamination happens when disposable nappies, dirty or full containers, soft plastics and household hazardous waste materials are placed in the yellow-lidded bin. Some of these items can contaminate a whole load of recyclables because:
- they contain substances that contaminate other materials such as nappies and dirty containers.
- they are too small or the wrong shape for the sorting machines to cope with, which can lead to breakages (and mean recycling capabilities will be reduced on a large scale). This includes items like small plastic lids, hoses, rope and shredded paper.
- they are a safety risk to the teams collecting and sorting our recyclable waste – for example, flammable or toxic items like aerosols, gas cylinders and paint.
- they require specialised recycling processes, with electronic waste and textiles being good examples of these.
Sorting recyclables in the yellow-lidded bin
Below is a simple list of what can be placed the Recyclables bin. If in doubt about how to dispose an item, information on how to dispose of them correctly is available in local governments’ waste calendar and their website.
- Plastic Bottles
- Empty, rinsed, no lids
- Plastic Containers
- Empty, rinsed, lids off
- Aluminium cans and tins
- Empty and rinsed
- Glass jars, bottles and metal lids
- Empty, rinsed, lids off
- Broken Glass
- Small amounts only
- Cartons (e.g. dairy drinks)
- Cartons with silver lining, like most UHT milk containers, must go in the general waste bin
- Boxes (including cereal boxes)
- Clean, not shredded
Avoiding creating waste in first place
The State Government’s Waste Strategy 2030 vision is that ‘Western Australia will become a sustainable, low-waste, circular economy in which human health and the environment are protected from the impacts of waste’. Its key objectives include waste avoidance, waste recovery and protection of the environment by managing waste responsibly.
We can all work towards avoiding waste creation by taking few simple daily steps:
- Be mindful about recycling when shopping – consider where your food and drink packaging goes after its contents are consumed/used, and prioritise containers that can go in the yellow lidded recycling bin.
- Set up waste sorting stations inside the home – this may include separate containers for recyclables and soft plastics (scrunchable plastics like plastic bags, chip packets, wrappers), in the kitchen, bathroom and even outdoor area
- Find out about specialist recycling programs – these may include recycling programs for soft plastics (RedCycle), mobile phones (Mobile Munster), electrical and household hazardous waste (your local government’s collection services).