According to the Clean Up Australia, plastics are most common litter found on their Clean Up Australia Day. In fact, Australian's use 1.3 millions tonnes of plastic each year. While it would be great if even a fraction of that could be diverted away from land fill and into recycling centres, how many times have you looked at the bottom of a plastic container, saw the triangle with the arrows and a number in the middle and thought "Is a number 4 recyclable? Can I put it in my kerbside rubbish?"
What about bottle recycling schemes like the one used in South Australia? If your lucky enough to live in S.A. where can you make a deposit. If not, what are your options.
Somewhat frustratingly, a plastic's ability to be recycled differs from council to council. Although is it possible for all plastics to be recycled, limitations on kerbside recycling programs simply do not accommodate for all seven types of plastic. It is quite important to be aware of what can and can't be recycled as contamination of plastic disposed off through kerbside recycling increase the costs to all involved, from the physical collectors to the recycling depot. A rise in their costs only results in a rise in the communities costs.
There are some simple measure you can take to ensure contamination does not occur. Obviously, it begins with understanding what can and can't be recycled. Refer to the table below for details. Once you know if the plastic is an accepted plastic, prepare the plastics for recycling - rinse all residue from any bottles, jars and containers and remove all labels and lids.
Planet Ark, in co-operation with Sensis, have created a fantastic website called Recycling Near You. Here you are able to easily investigate what your local council offers in terms of recycling programs. Alternatively, call the National Recycling Hotline on 1300 733 712 for any recycling enquires.
Recently aToMik Green set up WREX (Waste and Resource Exchange) and inspired by our own waste re-use and resource swapping with our warehouse neighbour, WREX allows businesses and individuals with a way to reduce landfill and resource consumption. WREX works on the traditional classified ads theory - you post your ad and wait for someone to respond to it. The entire process, including the handing over your waste to the next person is a free process
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
- Soft drink bottles
- Some juice bottles
- Water bottles
- Oven-ready meal trays
- Some plastic jars
Kerbside Recyclable? Yes, Always
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
- Milk bottles
- Some juice bottles
- Cream containers
- Washing liquid containers
- Some shampoo bottles
Kerbside Recyclable? Yes, always
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
- Food trays
- Cling film
- Some shampoo bottles
- Food packaging: Eg: strawberry punnet
Kerbside Recyclable? Most councils now accept PVC plastics through kerbside recycling, however it is recommended you contact you local council to confirm.
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
- Shopping Bags
- Bin Liners (surprisingly)
- Squeezable Bottles
- Toilet Seats (we just had to replace one, so we know this)
Kerbside Recyclable? These days it is probable that your council will accept LDPE plastics for recycling, however it is still recommended you contact your local council to confirm. If it is not accepted, avoid or re-use this plastic where possible.
- Takeaway Food Containers
- Margarine Tubs
- Microwaveable Meal Trays
- Drinking Straws
Kerbside Recyclable? These days it is probable that your council will accept PP plastics for recycling, however it is still recommended you contact your local council to confirm. If it is not accepted, avoid or re-use this plastic where possible.
- Old Hamburger packaging
- Disposable Cups, plates and cutlery
- CD cases
- Foam meat or fish trays
- 3D glasses from Village Cinemas
Kerbside Recyclable? These days it is probable that your council will accept PS plastics for recycling, however it is still recommended you contact your local council to confirm. If it is not accepted, avoid or re-use this plastic where possible.
- Any other plastics that do not fall into any of the above categories. An example is melamine, which is often used in plastic plates and cups.
Kerbside Recyclable? Occasionally. Contact your local council to to confirm.