On Saturday the 5th of June, World Environment Day will be raising global awareness of environmental issues while providing solutions for how to take action in creating positive change. One of the small but essential ways in which everyone can help improve their local environment is through appropriate and responsible recycling habits.
But despite how much we think we know about recycling, there are still correct and incorrect methods which may elude us. The team at CopperRock Waste and Recycling Centre has compiled a useful list of 5 eco-friendly recycling tips that anyone can easily implement in their household to help create a cleaner future.
Tip 1: Know What Can and Can’t Be Recycled
The clearest indication of what can and can’t be recycled is whether or not the item includes the “three-arrow” recycling logo somewhere on the packaging. However, it’s important to note that not all recyclable materials will include this logo, despite the fact that they are perfectly suited to being recycled.
So, if you have any paper, cardboard, steel, aluminium, glass, or firm flexible plastic goods at home, there’s a good chance that they can be recycled. Other goods such as construction materials, paint, car batteries, and electronic waste can also be recycled at specific facilities.
Every appropriate item or material that you transfer from the general waste bin into the recycling bin will be reducing unnecessary waste in landfill, therefore creating a cleaner environment overall.
Tip 2: Plastic Bags Can’t be Recycled
This next tip is two-fold. Firstly, plastic bags are made up of materials that take decades to decompose and are not appropriate for recycling. It’s highly recommended that you find reusable bags for your groceries and dispose of any plastic bags in your general waste bin.
Secondly, plastic rubbish bags cannot be used to store recyclables in your recycling bin. Not only is the bag itself non-recyclable, but recycling centres cannot open them as it is considered a safety hazard, meaning the entirety of its contents will be disposed of in a landfill. The environmentally friendly solution is to keep plastic bags well away from your recycling as they obstruct the process.
Tip 3: Know Your Plastic Recyclables
Almost every plastic should contain a recycling code which indicates the type of plastic it’s made of. These include:
1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
4: Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE)
5: Polypropylene (PP)
6: Polystyrene (PS)
7: All other plastics
Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule about which plastics can be recycled as different councils have different regulations. As a general guide, plastics 1, 2 and 5 can be recycled while you should consult your local council’s recycling guidelines about plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7. Lastly, LDPE (4) is soft flexible material used to create plastic bags. As mentioned in tip 2, these shouldn’t go into your recycling bin but into REDcycle bins at your local supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths, where they’re transferred directly to recycling plants who accept them – such as Replas.
Tip 4: You Don’t Have to Clean Recyclables
A lot of people fall under the illusion that any jars, containers, or cans that can go in the recycling bin have to be completely eradicated of any food scraps before disposal. Despite the minor inconvenience of this misconception, this has caused a lot of recycling to go into the trash. Well, good news for us – while major traces of food can slow down the recycling process, in general, small traces of any previous contents won’t affect it at all.
It’s recommended to give recyclable containers a quick rinse before putting them away, but a deep clean certainly isn’t necessary. So don’t worry about recycling being a huge time-sink on your end.
Tip 5: E-Waste Can be Recycled
E-Waste refers to any electronics that you want to dispose of. But did you know that most electronics can be recycled? While you will have to take your e-waste to your nearby recycling centre, it will be worth it as appliances can be refurbished, taken apart for parts, or crushed into recyclable materials.
So whether you have an old refrigerator, TV, computer, printer, toaster, or any electronic goods that you no longer want or need, taking it to a recycling centre is a far more eco-friendly option than including it with your general waste.
Tip 6: Buy Recycled Goods
Recycling is an ongoing lifestyle choice that doesn’t end with filling up your recycling bin. To truly validate the process and ease stress on the environment, you need to give back to the market by purchasing goods made from recycled materials. These are becoming increasingly prevalent as more and more people recycle responsibly.
The proper implementation of recycling is one of the best ways you can help the environment in your household. By following these tips, you will be taking an eco-friendly approach to your personal and household waste management, ensuring a cleaner future as we approach World Environment Day.