Do not attempt to recycle a dead bat. Repeat: bats cannot be recycled. Nor can rats. Rats and bats are a "No, No!"
That's the passionate message from the ACT government's recycling people.
Passionate because Kathryn Sullivan from the recycling firm EnviroCom opened one bin to be confronted by a rat. Bats have also been found.
"The rat was strangest," she said. "Because it was mummified, sitting up vertically".
She said it was dead but it seemed to look at her.
Ms Sullivan is spearheading a drive to get more people recycling - but recycling the right stuff.
The ACT government has a scheme for organic waste - recycling discarded plants, shoots and leaves.
It goes in the green waste bin and gets collected from the kerb on the same day as normal garbage but every other week from the yellow top recycling bin.
Some cities and towns recycle food and vegetables from the kitchen but Canberra confines itself to waste from the garden - clippings and cuttings.
That includes untreated wood provided it is not more than 45 centimetres long and 10 centimetres in diameter (about the size of a forearm). Processed timber (like pallets and fences) can't be recycled in this scheme.
There is a great benefit to recycling garden waste because it doesn't go to a landfill site where space is limited.
The other advantage of recycling is that in landfill it would emit a lot of methane, and methane is a global warming gas.
Instead, the contents of your green waste bin go to the Corkhill Brothers recycling site on Mugga Lane where leaves and the like are ground down into fragments.
These small bits of discarded greenery are then allowed to mulch for months. Bacteria and oxygen work on them and turn them into a high quality mulch which is useful as a natural fertiliser. True recycling.
Plastic bags or newspaper should not be put in the organic waste bin either, Ms Sullivan said.
Because green waste recycling is voluntary - you have to opt in - there's actually not that much contamination of material in the bins. People who choose to do it make sure they get it right - usually.
KATHRYN SULLIVAN'S RULES AND TIPS:
- Place sticks, prunings and twigs in the bottom of your Green Waste Bin. This will help stop grass clippings from sticking and should minimise the chances of garden materials getting stuck in the bin. Please do not line bins with newspaper.
- Wet materials can become heavy and dense. A garden fork, spade, or even a stick can be used to loosen the waste the night before collection to ensure that all materials empty from the bin.
- Be mindful of the weight of your green waste, especially when it's wet. Your bin must weigh less than 50 kg to be lifted safely by the truck.
- Green waste left in the bin for too long can stick to the bottom and may start to smell. So make sure you put your bin out each fortnight, no matter how full it is.
- Do not overfill your bin. If you have too much material for the Green Waste Bin, you can still drop of your green waste for free at: Corkhill Bros at the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre or Canberra Sand and Gravel at the West Belconnen Resource Management Centre.