The Canberra Times

Recycling UpdateAdvertising Feature

It's easy to recycle right at Christmas when you know howAdvertising Feature

Sort your waste to separate the domestic packaging suitable for the recycle bin, and take other used items like soft plastics, batteries, electronic goods and other metal objects to the appropriate collection points. Photo: Supplied

According to a recent survey, "most Canberran's want to do the right thing when it comes to reducing waste and recycling more," said Robbie Ladbrook from ACT NoWaste.

Notably for the upcoming holiday season, "waste generation, in particular food waste, increases significantly at this time of year with festivities and gift giving contributing to household waste."

However, whilst a recent survey also indicated that 96 per cent of Canberrans believed they were knowledgeable about what can and can't go in the recycling bin at home, it turns out that about a quarter of the time we don't actually get it right.

This contamination causes more items to go to landfill, and some incorrect items can pose serious danger to recycling staff or cause blockages or damage to the sorting machines at our local facility.

"The most common errors are putting recyclables in plastic bags, trying to recycle soft plastics through the yellow recycling bin and recycling items like batteries and electronics through the recycling bin.

"Whilst these items are recyclable, they must be taken to special collection points to be recycled safely."

With just a little planning and sorting, you'll easily be able to ensure that ACT NoWaste can correctly process the 250 tonnes they get on a normal day, and the extra they're about to receive over the holidays.

ACT NoWaste's top tips for having a waste wise holiday season

Search and discover

Visit act.gov.au/recyclopaedia and bookmark the Recyclopaedia in your phone. With this in your pocket you've got everything you need to #RecycleRight and dispose of all types of household waste.

Avoid food waste

Don't over-buy food, serve small platters that you can refresh throughout the day, and put leftovers straight back in the fridge or freezer so you can enjoy them later.

#RecycleRight

The kerbside recycling bin system is designed only to process household packaging items such as containers, jars, bottles, cans and paper and cardboard. If you didn't buy something inside it, it probably doesn't belong in the recycling bin.

Keep it clean

Wipe, scrape or rinse your containers to ensure your recycling can be recycled and your bin doesn't get stinky over summer.

Keep it loose

When items are placed inside each other they get sorted by the machinery into the pile for the outside item. For example, a milk bottle inside a cardboard box will be sorted by weight, size, and shape into the cardboard pile, thus contaminating the cardboard stream. For the same reason, plastic bags of items will be removed from the sorting line and sent to landfill.

Keep the small stuff out

Small objects just fall through the cracks and end up contaminating other streams of material. For example, shredded paper ends up in the glass pile, and broken glass can end up in the paper pile.

Other tips

Flatten boxes to make more space.

Keep out soft plastic wrapping and polystyrene, these don't go in the recycling bin.

To ensure that your recycling bins are being used correctly remember that the following items are not placed in domestic recycling bins:

  • Batteries
  • Gas cylinders
  • Metal objects
  • Old appliances
  • Polystyrene
  • Shredded paper

Recycling the rest

Over 350 million batteries are used every year in Australia. Remember to use rechargeable ones and recycle household batteries through Woolworths and Aldi supermarket collection points.

Also recycle soft plastic packaging through supermarket recycling points.

Get some money back for eligible containers by recycling bottles and cans through the ACT container deposit scheme (CDS).

There are various programs and places for recycling mobile phones, electronic goods and whitegoods. There are also specialist metal recyclers more than happy to take your metal objects, all the way up to complete vehicles. Check with them first as to what they can take or what they can come and collect for you.

Uncontaminated demolition or construction waste can also be recycled when given to the appropriate organisation.

Turning demolition materials into construction productsAdvertising Feature

Many building and construction materials can be reclaimed, processed and turned into useful products for future projects. Photo: Shutterstock

It's not just household packaging and products that can be recycled when sorted properly or dropped off at the appropriate collection points.

So long as there's no asbestos contamination, the actual house itself, or any other construction work, can largely be recycled too.

Operating locally since 2004, ACT Recycling is a family owned company located at Mugga Resource Management Centre in Symonston, ACT.

"The company's main operations involve the receival, sorting and processing of construction and demolition waste, for re-use or recycling," a spokesperson said.

"ACT Recycling processes concrete, asphalt, bricks, ceramics, roof tiles, rock, mixed concrete/brick and construction timbers into various high quality products for re-use on building sites, landscaping, drainage and roads."

The accepted list of materials at ACT Recycling also includes virgin excavated natural material (VENM), drilling mud and fluid, general construction and demolition waste and metals.

"To ensure the safety of our employees and that of the environment, items on the prohibited list include asbestos, chemicals and other hazardous substances, any other contaminated waste, tyres, synthetic mineral fibres and food waste. You should refer to the relevant WorkSafe and EPA websites for disposal of these materials."

By using the recycled products that ACT Recycling produces from these recovered materials, "you are contributing to a more sustainable construction industry, reducing landfill and preserving our natural resources.

"In addition to this you are adding credibility to your project and assisting in meeting Green Star ratings."

Plus "ACT Recycling's products have a significant price advantage over the equivalent quarry products, resulting in big savings."

Some of these products include aggregates from 5mm up, asphalt millings, crushed concrete sub-base, crusher dust and brick aggregates for various uses. They also produce recycled hardwood mulch that can be used in landscaping projects.

Visit actrecycling.com.au to find out more.