Support for recycling remains high among Australians but confusion over what can and can't be thrown in each bin has left some wondering whether they're doing it right, a new study has found.
Young Canberra couple, Kevin Cai and Sarah Biddulph, admit they're passionate about the environment and want to recycle properly but have found some of the messaging can make things confusing.
It's meant they've had to do their own research but they've found the information still isn't clear cut.
"We care about climate change and the environment and recycling is just one of the ways that we can reduce our impact," Ms Biddulph said.
"Now that we've moved out and are living on our own, it's up to us to do our own research about certain recyclables because it can be a bit confusing with different types."
They're not alone.
A new study, commissioned by waste management company Cleanaway, has found while three-quarters of respondents believe they were good recyclers, nearly half were making mistakes.
While pizza boxes without grease stains can be recycled, 53 per cent of those surveyed believed they were always recyclable, even with food and oils stuck to it.
Soft plastics, such as shopping and bread bags and chocolate wrappers, were also being incorrectly put into kerbside bins by nearly half of the respondents.
Ms Biddulph said while her household had started to identify some of grey areas of recycling, new challenges were always popping up with unclear labelling.
"For me, the coffee cups is a big one that's quite confusing, especially because different cafes are using different [materials] now," Ms Biddulph said.
"Some are labelled as biodegradable, some are labelled as recycled materials that aren't necessarily still recyclable because of that wax, so it's definitely confusing."
The data also identified those over the age of 55 felt the most confident with their recycling habits at 82 per cent of the group.
At the other end, only 65 per cent of those between 18 and 34 years old felt they were good or very good at recycling.
But the disparity, Mr Cai said, was probably due to younger Australians being made more aware of the nuances when it came to recycling.
"Being aware of how accurately you're recycling is probably more of an issue for younger people because we're more exposed to that kind of messaging," Mr Cai said.
Part of the reason there was a hesitancy with recycling certain items, the couple said, was the different information that applied depending on where you live.
Living in Brisbane before their move to Canberra meant the two had to relearn recycling to abide by the territory's rules.
"What I'm doing is just Googling [for information] but then it returns results from America, which is very different," Mr Cai said.
Cleanaway launched its own learning portal, Greenius, to assist people with that knowledge gap but Mr Cai and Ms Biddulph have also turned to documentaries, such as War on Waste, to learn more about the impact of waste.
While Mr Cai said he could always improve his recycling efforts, he said the important part was to continue learning and doing the best he can.
"At the end of the day, I think most people really care about doing good for the environment and recycling is part of that," Mr Cai said.
"As long as you're trying to learn more every day in regards to what you can and can't recycle, I think that's just really what the best you can do."
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