Think Outside the Bin

It’s National Recycling Week and if you are not excited about it, you had better start thinking of artistic ways to use the 240 toilet roll tubes you use every year.

A new report from Planet Ark, titled ‘The Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers’ explains that thinking about reuse and recycling is an effective way to ensure unwanted but still useable items don’t end up in landfill.

“People are becoming more aware of the environmental and financial impacts of a throwaway culture,” says Brad Gray, head of Campaigns at Planet Ark.

Understanding which items can be recycled at the kerbside is the first step in establishing successful recycling habits. Research suggests that contamination in recycling bins is not always due to a lack of care or concern but rather due to genuine misunderstandings about what can be recycled.

Surprisingly, 50 per cent of people surveyed got at least one item wrong when asked if it is recyclable. For example, only 34 per cent of Australians know that empty aerosol cans are recyclable in their kerbside bins. One of the top explanations given for not recycling aerosols was a mistaken belief that they will explode in the recycling.

The survey also shows that 26 per cent of people sometimes or always put their recycling in a plastic bag, then into the bin.

However, items contained within the plastic bags end up being sent to landfill as the systems in the sorting facility can’t separate the various materials and the bags clog the machines. Recycling must be loose in the recycling bin to be sorted effectively.

Businesses can also share some recycling joy. Paper-based products, including cardboard, make up the second-largest component of the 12.5 million tonnes of waste produced by Australian businesses each year.

“Australian workplaces are good at recycling the paper they use everyday, but there are literally tonnes of high-quality office paper stored in files that will never be used again,” says Gray. Currently office paper has a recycling rate of 68 per cent, yet less than 18 per cent of new office paper includes recycled content.

National Recycling Week is 10th November to 16th November.


• There are 17 billion toilet-paper tubes made every year

• Manufacturer Kimberly Clark has just launched a tube-free toilet paper roll

• You can recycle your household batteries at Balmain Library, 370 Darling St Balmain

• Register your workplace for the Friday File fling on November 14th. which will provide an opportunity to toss out unwanted files

Bower Repair Café is coming to Annandale Neighbourhood Centre (back hall) on November 15th to demonstrate how household appliances can be repaired and re-used

• Recycling one kilogram of paper reduces the production of greenhouse gases by one kilogram

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