Although it took quite some time, recycling has finally become a common practice in today’s modern society. We have learned that it offers a wide range of positive environmental impacts, including reducing landfill waste and energy consumption, decreasing pollution, as well as preserving natural resources – among others.
Of course, while we are moving in the right direction when it comes to recycling, there are still some common mistakes that are being made, thereby rendering the process useless.
Here are 5 common recycling mistakes made in Sydney, along with their counterpart recycling tips to make your efforts fruitful:
- Plastic bags in recycling bins
According to a recent survey, putting plastic bags in recycling bins is Australia’s #1 recycling mistake. What a majority of Australians are unaware of is that recycling facilities are not equipped to handle plastic bags of any type, as they can clog up the machinery. In turn, plastic bags are sent straight to landfills.
In order to avoid this, it is recommended to recycle plastic bags at your local supermarket through their recycling program(s).
- Recyclables in general waste bins
Putting recyclables into general waste bins does not disrupt the recycling process; however, it is considered unnecessary waste that ends up going straight to landfills.
Familiarising yourself with what can and cannot be recycled is a great way to be mindful the next time around. For an easy reference guide, consider the RecycleSmart app, which can help you to make smarter waste disposal and recycling management decisions.
- Food waste in recycling bins
Paperboard food containers, such as cereal boxes and paper egg cartons that are not soiled, are recyclable. On the contrary, any type of container that has been soiled with food is NOT recyclable, meaning that it can contaminate the process or it will likely be sent to landfill.
Before putting any containers into your recycling bin, empty and give them a quick rinse to get rid of any food residue. If, however, this cannot be done, it should be put into your general waste bin.
- Aluminium foil in general waste bins
A lot of individuals are unaware of the fact that aluminium foil is recyclable. In fact, there is almost no limit to how many times it can be recycled.
So, the next time around, do not throw your used aluminium foil into your general waste bin. Instead, scrunch it up into a fist-sized ball and toss it into your recycling bin.
- Disposable coffee cups in recycling bins
Disposable coffee cups can essentially (and generally) contaminate an entire recycling bin. They are difficult to recycle due to their physical make-up – more specifically, due to the thin, tightly-bonded polyethylene liner that makes the cup waterproof. What’s more, recycling facilities that are equipped to handle such cups are very few in number.
For this reason, consider these two options: investing in a reusable coffee cup or using the general waste bin for disposal coffee cups – or both.
With a little bit of practice, you can avoid these common recycling mistakes and get the hang of smart recycling!