Great party last weekend! Now all we have to do is clean up! Empty beer cans, soft drink bottles, biscuit boxes, corn chip packets and salsa jars litter the carport, the barbecue is greasy and the tinfoil used to wrap the fish is still sitting there. No problem, we’ll get the gang around, throw most of it in the recycling bin and she’ll be right, mate! Sounds like a real Aussie barbecue and its aftermath, doesn’t it? Yes, apart from one thing – the recycling bin. While most of the products mentioned above can be recycled, they can’t all be placed in the same bin.
Soft drink bottles of recyclable PET plastic, beer and mixer aluminium cans, empty rum bottles and salsa jars can all go in the commingling bin, as can the aluminium foil from the barbecue. However chip packets cannot be recycled nor can any other products which can be squeezed and then return to their original shape – things like plastic bags, the inner trays of biscuits boxes or the cellophane that encloses them. All of these things need to go in the rubbish, although your supermarket will probably provide a means of recycling your grocery bags. If not, ask them to provide one.
Waste commingling is a method of collecting waste, whereby all recyclable PETbottles, recyclable glass and aluminum are placed into a single bin and are later able to be separated and recycled at the waste collection facility. Sometimes your Council might provide you with a bin that allows you to separate paper and cardboard from the mix of tinnies, jars and plastic bottles in your waste commingling bin.
Be aware of what you are placing in these bins. Not everything can be recycled and a non-recyclable product which ends up in the wrong place can result in all of the waste going to landfill and not being recycled as you might have assumed it was. Don’t use your bin as a free-for-all methodto dispose of any non-organic material.
One of the biggest problems is that not all plastics can be recycled. Toothpaste tubes, bubble wrap, styrofoam and plastic bags cannot be recycled. While plastic bags can be reused in the home, particularly as rubbish bags, or returned to a supermarket for reuse, the lightweight nature of some plastics means that they can jam waste processing machinery.
Glass is another product that requires careful consideration before it is thrown into in the recycling bin. Heavy duty and durable glass food containers such as bottles and jars can be happily recycled. However, by mixing in glass products such as light bulbs, Pyrex, window glass , mirrors or drinking glasses ,the mix becomes contaminated and results in a recycled product which is weakened and prone to shattering.
The tinny or bottle from which you consumed your weekend beverage can be easily recycled. However, not all metal products are the same. Batteries and gas bottles can cause havoc at a recycling plant and are really very dangerous due either to the chemicals they contain or the pressure they are subjected to. Aerosol cans are fine but beware of paint cans that still contain some of their original content. They could contaminate an entire batch of recyclable product and send it straight to landfill. Empty paint cans are fine.
Real Waste Solutions works very hard to ensure that the products you put out for recycling are indeed, going to be recycled. But thoughtless disposal on your part makes our job difficult. Please help us to make the best use of your household waste by recycling only those products that can be reused and don’t use your recycling bin as a rubbish tip.