Correctly separating certain waste can prevent it from ever reaching the landfill or recycling bins. Not sure what can go where? We whipped up some posters you can use as a reference*. These will vary based on your home setup, choose from the options below:
Have a compost bin? click here
Have a worm farm? click here
Food waste collected? click here
No Food waste? click here
The posters give examples of what to put where, and give a handy guide to codes you might see. Often stamped onto plastics, these codes are part of the Resin Identification Code and reference the type of plastic the product is made from.
Soft plastic recycling
Companies like Plastic Forests and Redcycle recycle plastics into new products, helping to close the loop and encourage upcycling of plastics instead of single use. You may have seen a Redcycle bin at your local supermarket offering to take your soft plastics like single use plastic bags.
Not sure how to tell if something can go into the Soft Plastics bin? Do the scrunch test. If it’s plastic and you can scrunch it into a ball in your hand, it’s considered a soft plastic - think bread bags, chip packets and cling wrap.
Aluminium, glass and paper recycling
The good news story on this front is that materials like aluminium and glass are infinitely recyclable and some of these are still recycled in Australia. Companies like Visy are still recycling glass, aluminium and paper products, with the intention of creating new products from this waste. So, dropping these in the recycling bin is only a good thing for Mother Earth!
E-waste & Batteries
Batteries and electronic waste (we’re talking computer parts, cables and old screens) contain hazardous chemicals and precious metals that either need to be disposed of carefully or can be reused in new electronics! Most states have their own e-waste processing systems, you can search “e-waste” and your state to find out how to dispose of e-waste safely in your area.
Batteries are an easy one, rechargeable batteries are getting cheaper, not to mention you only buy them once! So the investment will pay off in a few recharges. You can buy rechargeable batteries and chargers in most supermarkets.
Once food waste enters landfill, it breaks down and emits greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) – a gas 25 times more potent than CO2. This is why one of the best ways to reduce your waste is to separate out your food waste.
This requires a compost, worm farm or council facility to break down the food waste. Some local councils allow food waste to be put into the green organic waste bin, so it’s always worth getting in touch with your local council.
In an apartment? That’s cool, you can get a Bokashi bin to divert your food waste from landfill or you can use Sharewaste to connect with neighbours already composting or who have worm-farms or chickens. You can also do a quick Google for any community gardens that take food waste or check to see if there is an organic waste recycling facility near you.
*Please note that there are some differences for what you can and can’t recycle and what you can put into your green bin by area and state. If you’re unsure, make sure to check with your local council.