Although South Australians are the best recyclers in the nation, we can still do better by reducing our contamination.
Placing incorrect items in the recycling bin is called contamination. Contamination causes problems during the sorting of recyclables, as well as decreasing the ability of the item to be recycled into a new product. In some cases, just a few contaminated bins can ruin an entire truckload of recyclables.
The top 10 items we need to keep out of our yellow lidded recycling bins:
1. PLASTIC BAGS: We hate to be a nag, but please don’t place your recycling in a bag!
Bagged recycling cannot be sorted and often goes to waste. Set it free so it can be recycled easily. Plastic bags
and other soft plastic wrapping causes problems by getting caught in the paper stream as well as wrapping around
machinery at the recycling facility. So please leave plastic bags and soft plastics out.
Plastic bags and other soft plastics can be placed in the REDcycle bins found at Coles and Woolworths. The soft plastics are recycled and made into outdoor furniture, bollards and board walks for schools and councils.
2. E-WASTE: Kerbside bins are not the place to recycle or place your electronic waste!
Electronic items must be taken to a specialised E-waste recycling centre.
3. TEXTILES: No clothes please – or textiles/fabric in the recycling bin!
Clothing and fabric cannot be recycled in the yellow lidded recycling bin. Please take good quality clothing to a charity store. Old and worn out clothing can be used as rags or placed in the general waste to landfill bin.
4. FOOD AND LIQUID: Food and drinks don’t go down well in the recycling bin!
Food and liquids cause a mess and can contaminate a whole load of recyclable items, which may mean they end up in landfill. Please make sure containers and bottles are empty and rinsed before placing them in the recycling bin. Place unwanted food in the green lidded ‘food and garden organics’ bin.
5. POLYSTYRENE/FOAM: Make your recycling bin a ‘No Foam Zone!’
Expanded polystyrene foam includes meat trays, coffee cups and foam packaging. Polystyrene contaminates recyclable materials as it breaks up into many small pieces when placed in the recycling bin. Due to its light weight, it also gets caught up in the paper/cardboard stream.
6. SHREDDED PAPER: Beware of the dreaded shredded paper!
Although whole sheets of paper can be recycled, shredded paper is too small to sort and recycle. The pieces fall through the cracks of the sorting machines, stick to the belts, contaminate glass and plastic materials and end up everywhere. Please place shredded paper (loose – not in a bag) in your green lidded ‘food and garden organics’ bin instead.
7. TOUGHENED GLASS: Not all glass is created equal and therefore it’s not all recyclable.
This includes pyrex, cook wear, glass lids, crockery, mirrors and window glass. Toughened and heat proof glass has a very high melting point and therefore cannot be recycled like glass bottles and jars can.
8. NAPPIES: Finding a dirty nappy in the recycling bin doesn’t make anyone happy!
Nappies cannot be recycled. Please only place them in the general waste to landfill bin.
9. WET PAINT: Make sure your recycling bin isn’t tainted with wet paint!
Please only place empty and dry paint tins in the recycling bin. Wet paint can be first dried then scraped into your waste bin before placing the empty paint tin in the recycling bin.
10. BRICKS and WIRE: Bricks, building materials and wire are other items we don’t desire!
Heavy materials such as bricks, tiles and scrap metal damage trucks and machinery. Wire, coat hangers, hoses and strapping get caught and wrap around machinery, stopping the machines from working and causing damage.