Are you recycling right?

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The average Australian produces 647kg of municipal waste each year, making us some of the most prolific consumers among developed countries.

Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week (November 7 – 13) highlights the many opportunities for improvements in waste reduction and recycling.

‘So You Think You Can Recycle?’ features the Golden Rules of Recycling that tackle the most common recycling conventions to help clear up confusion.

One of the greatest challenges to kerbside recycling is the issue of contamination. Those who identify themselves as committed recyclers are most likely to contaminate by putting materials such as glassware or crockery in the recycling bin. 

Eight out of 10 councils surveyed by Planet Ark across metropolitan, regional and remote Australia said that ‘reducing contamination in kerbside recycling’ is a high priority.

“There is still a significant amount of confusion when it comes to appropriately disposing of plastics, particularly soft plastics like bread, cereal, pasta and lolly bags,” Ryan Collins, Recycling Programs manager at Planet Ark, said.

“Many Australians believe that they’re doing the right thing by throwing their soft plastic in the kerbside recycling bin, but it can become tangled in the machinery at the recycling facility, making the process less efficient.

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“Generally speaking, soft plastics are any plastics that can be easily scrunched by hand. They can be taken to many supermarkets to be recycled through the REDCycle program.

“Part of the reason people get confused is because of the variety of symbols on packs so our new Australian Recycling Label starting to feature on products should help reduce confusion.”

Just like kitchens, there are many products in the bathroom that can be recycled, including aerosol cans, shampoo and conditioner bottles, soap packets and cardboard toilet paper rolls.

To encourage people to choose recycled, PlanetArk is giving away four prizes of a year’s supply of Naturale 100 per cent recycled toilet tissue – visit for competition details.

The Golden Rules are:

  • Stay loose: Recycling goes into the bin loose – never in a plastic bag, and keep other soft plastic out too.
  • Easy does it: Simple materials like paper, cardboard, glass jars and bottles, metal cans and aerosols, cartons and rigid plastics are easy to recycle and accepted in almost all kerbside collections.
  • Into the garbage: Crockery, window and drinkware glass, polystyrene, plastic bags, nappies and food are the big baddies.
  • Keep it clean-ish: Recycling does not need to be spotless – just scrape off solid food and give it a quick rinse.
  • Drop ‘em off: Kerbside systems cannot separate items like mobiles, computers, batteries and printer cartridges – find local drop off services.
  • If in doubt: Leave it out! Putting the wrong thing in the wrong bin can ruin your good recycling efforts.
  • Buy it back: Look for recycled products, like Planet Ark Paper and Naturale Toilet Tissue to close the recycle cycle.

National Recycling Week is kindly supported by major sponsor Naturale, associate sponsors Australian Packaging Covenant, Bingo Bins and ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ and supporting sponsors  Australian Paper, FlooringXtra and MobileMuster.

Visit the website or call the National Recycling Hotline on 1300 733 712.


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