5 Recycling Tips for National Recycling Week

With last week being National Recycling Week, it’s a good time to check your recycling habits to ensure that the items you use aren’t just being sent to landfill but are given a new life. There’s so much that can be recycled now.

We thought we’d share some of our top tips to help you recycle better.


Have you ever turned to your partner or a housemate and asked “Hey, does this go in the recycling?” and then they look at you with a blank stare and respond “… I think so.” But the response is unconvincing, you’re still not sure as well and so to be safe, you throw it in the regular bin. If only there was some way to know definitively if something goes in the recycling… except there is.

Food and drink containers now display whether its container and parts of the container are recyclable. Most containers in Australia share these traits, and you can check the side to see where it goes. In addition, if only parts of the container are recyclable, or if they have different recycling requirements, it will be stated clearly. No more ambiguity, and now when you get asked, you can tell them to check the label.

Did you know aluminium foil can be recycled? It’s true, but it must be rolled into a ball before you put it into your recycling bin, and it must be the size of your fist. If it comes up smaller, then combine it with another ball to make it bigger. You can even turn it into a fun game at home to see how big the aluminium ball can get before it goes out for recycling!

One of the fundamental challenges recycling can often face is the breakdown and purity of materials. Something that’s called “contamination”. If a batch of plastic comes through for recycling and there are pieces of food mixed in with it, then it can’t generally be recycled and must go to landfill. So, keeping contamination out of your recycling is important. You can do your bit to reduce contamination by giving your plastic a quick rinse before it goes in the bin and by keeping food and ineligible materials out of the bin.

Speaking of sorting your recycling, one of the truly great benefits of recycling containers through a Container Deposit Scheme is the fact that there is very little chance of them being contaminated since they are separated and sorted inside the Reverse Vending Machine. The 10c refund is an attractive personal incentive and it also makes you a real recycling hero to go to your local TOMRA location and recycle, because you can be sure that the bottles and cans you put in will go on to get a new life.  It’s like buying the drink and borrowing the container!

While recycling depends on a supply of waste materials back into the system, it also depends on demand as well. Often companies will produce two versions of a product, one made with virgin materials and one which is made from recycled materials. Over time, if that company sees that people are choosing the recycled version, then they will create more products using recycled material. The more that demand drives companies to use recycled materials, the better recycling outcomes we’re going to get.

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