How well do you recyle?

The Australian community are urged to take action in becoming better recyclers in light of last week’s National Recycling Week held from Monday November 10 to Sunday November 16.

The Week, founded by Planet Ark in 1996, promotes the benefits of industrial and community recycling initiatives as well as giving people the tools to minimise waste and manage resources responsibly at home, work, and school.

By improving recycling habits and reducing waste, it is hoped that the environment will benefit through reduced contamination.

Understanding which items can be recycled is the first step in establishing successful recycling habits, however research suggests that contamination in recycling bins is often due to genuine misunderstandings about what can be recycled.

A huge proportion of mis-handled waste ends up back in the ocean where it harms marine life.
A huge proportion of mis-handled waste ends up back in the ocean where it harms marine life.

A new report from Planet Ark, titled The Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers addresses the four materials that most confuse people and the common mistakes made.

Surprisingly, 50% of people surveyed got at least one item wrong when asked if it is recyclable.

Planet Ark’s Head of Campaigns, Brad Gray, said more than half of Australians wrongly believe that aerosol cans can’t be recycled.

“In fact, they are made from fully recyclable steel or aluminium.

“Once they are empty it is perfectly safe to put them in the recycling,” he said.

The survey also shows that 26% 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.

The Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers are:

• Know the facts
• Don’t bag it
• Do it in the bathroom
• Do it in public
• Take it to work
• Think outside the bin
• Buy it back.

Torquay and surrounding residents can find local recycling options on the Surf Coast Shire website here.

Do you think you know all there is to know about successful recycling? Click here and put yourself to the test!

To find out how you can better recycle at home click here, or organisations can find out how to improve their recycling processes by clicking here.

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