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How to Be Smart About Recycling

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Most of us have good intentions when it comes to the disposable of our own waste. After all, we fill up our council bins every week, and we try to steer clear of disposable cups, what more could the environment ask for? It turns out that recycling in Australia is a little more complex than this and there are some important ways you can adjust your behaviour to ensure the recycling system does its job better.

smart recycling tips

Before Your Start Recycling

First things first, before you buy anything new ensure you need it. While there's a lot of convenience in grabbing a disposable coffee cup from your barista on the move, it's more cost-effective long term, not to mention better for the environment, if you invest in a reusable custom coffee cup instead. It's also important to give some thought to how much excess packaging you buy when you grocery shop -- if you can cut back on any of these, always consider doing so.

recycling bottles promotional reusable coffee cups

Recycling Products the Smart Way

  • Separate materials that are not the same. For example, the lid of a disposable coffee cup is made from a different plastic to the body or band. Similarly, a tissue box has a plastic insert that cannot be recycled in the same bin as cardboard.
  • If an item can be recycled and it has had food in it, rinse out the container before placing it in the appropriate bin. Do you enjoy a tub of yoghurt or perhaps some crackers and dip? Don't just toss the container into the bin when it still has food inside it. Rinse out the container gently first, that way your bin won't stink nearly as much and the item can be properly recycled. Same goes for things like shampoo bottles or pet food tins.
  • If cardboard has a lot of food residue on it, don't put it in the recycling bin. Ever had a pizza box with a lot of cheese on it, or perhaps a greasy bag that's contained your favourite fries? Unfortunately, this contamination from foodstuffs means these pieces of packaging aren't able to be recycled. Instead, throw any greasy box parts into the regular rubbish  -- if there's enough regular cardboard left, break it off and pop it in recycling by itself.

The golden rule for smart recycling is that if you're unsure about whether any material can be recycled, err with caution and pop it in the regular bin instead. An entire load of recyclable products can be thrown out because of contamination from an item that shouldn't be there, so when in doubt use your regular rubbish for the offending refuse.

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