Recycling has become a routine and essential part of life in Australia since it was introduced over 20 years ago. Because of the limits of the council materials facilities, however, there’s always been a limit to what type of product materials could be recycled. For the most part, we sort our trash into paper, glass, metal and plastic, and the efforts on the part of our communities have paid off tremendously, reducing landfill and protecting precious resources.
But as with any kind of technology, the ones used for recycling have slowly been evolving with the times, and you may not know that it’s possible to recycle more than the four traditional types of material.
The ubiquitous coffee pod has been making headlines for being an environmental hazard since they were introduced to the market. It takes between 150 and 500 years for the plastic and aluminium that make up these pods to disintegrate in a landfill because they aren’t biodegradable. Coffee companies have now started collecting your old pods and melting them down to create other aluminium products. Just make sure you clean your coffee pods before you recycle them to avoid contamination.
There’s a lot of confusion about whether or not aerosol cans are indeed recyclable, and the answer is yes! And more than that, it’s essential that we do recycle our aerosol cans for the simple reason that the steel and aluminium used in aerosols can be recycled time and again without any impact on the quality of the material. It takes 25% less energy to create new cans with the recycled material than it does to manufacture them from raw material. Check with your council, but most Australians can dispose of aerosol cans for recycling as you do other items.
Hiring a skip bin allows you to dispose of renovation waste like roof and floor tiles. The waste company will take them to processing plants to be crushed, so they don’t end up as landfill. After they’ve been broken down, your old tiles will be used to make new products. If you only have a few tiles to get rid of, you could recycle them yourself, using them in your garden to delineate flowerbeds, or for drainage in the bottom of flower pots instead of stones.
Most council recycling facilities don’t have the technology to process soft plastics, so they can’t be deposited for recycling in the usual way. But that doesn’t mean it’s hard to recycle your soft plastic trash, which includes plastic packets from retailers, ziplock bags, bubble wrap, product packaging for rice, pasta, bread and so on. At Coles, Woolworths and Safeway stores across the country, you’ll find RedCycle drop-off bins where you can leave soft plastics for recycling.
Mattresses take up a lot of space in a landfill, and it’s vital that we recycle them to keep our planet healthy. Many councils will collect your mattress for recycling, or you can get in touch with WM Waste Management Services, which has dedicated mattress recycling depots in Victoria and Melbourne.
Our local councils and some innovative waste management companies have made it easy for Australians to do their bit to save the environment, and it’s important for everyone to get involved. Get in touch with WM Waste Management for responsible removal and recycling of green and hard waste.
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