By PHIL OWEN*
EVER since China slapped a ban on many categories of foreign waste, it’s become more important for all of us to adopt good recycling habits.
Our waste collectors now have to meet much higher standards of waste product if they are hoping to export the waste to China following its crackdown.
There’s plenty of room for improvement and there are some basic rules we as residents can adopt to ensure we are recycling effectively.
1 Clean, dry and empty. As a general rule recyclables should be clean, dry and empty. This means removing food scraps from containers, giving them a quick rinse if they are dirty and ensuring they don’t contain liquids. Anything that can go rancid within a day shouldn’t be placed in your recycling bin.
2 Bigger is better Check the size. Items smaller than your fist generally cannot be recycled because they fall through the sorting machinery and end up in waste. Only items larger than your fist can be thrown in the recycling bin, otherwise it’s general rubbish.
4 Flatten your boxes — it helps you and the recycling companies.
5 Don’t assume you can recycle aerosols no matter what it says on the can.
Recycling facilities have recently stopped taking personal aerosol cans because they’re a fire and explosion risk.
6 Barbecue and camping gas bottles and batteries are not recyclable. The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative is a good place to find your closest collection point. Please just don’t dump them in public places within our municipality.
7 Plastic bags are a big no in household recycling bins. Put recyclables into your bin loose or they might end up in landfill. Soft plastics like bread bags, the wrapping around toilet rolls and plastic bags are not acceptable.
8 Paper with staples can still be recycled but get into the habit of removing staples and paperclips and this may become a requirement in future.
9 Glossy magazines and books can still be recycled but shredded paper cannot.
10 Do not try to recycle contaminated products like paper towel or tissues, which should go in your general waste bin.
Council is about to undertake recycling bin audits using the cameras in the truck to visually look into bins to make sure everyone is doing the right thing. This will be followed up with stickers on the bin and letters notifying residents if any issues are found or talking to residents if they are repeat offenders. Action may have to be taken against those who continue to offend.
Make sure you talk to Council if you are unsure about what you can and can’t put into your garbage tins. But please take note of these important points to ensure you are recycling the right way.
*Cr Phil Owen is chair of Brighton Council’s Waste Management Committee