If you want to make a difference to the state of the environment, one of the easiest places to start is in the home. Recycling might seem like a timewaster, but it actually has positive effects on the planet, and your mindset. It not only reduces your personal carbon footprint and pollution in general, it can also make you feel happier knowing you’re playing a positive part in the future. If you’re new to recycling, here are the essentials you need to know to help get you off the ground: 

What is recycling and why is it important?

Recycling is the process where used materials are broken down and reused or remade into new products. By doing this, it limits the waste of materials that would be otherwise useful and decreases the amount of air and water pollution in the environment by reducing the need for extraction, refining and processing of raw materials. Recycling also reduces the amount of landfill, which is one of the main causes of greenhouse gas. By paying more attention to your trash, you could contribute to saving over 700 million tonne of CO2 every year. 

How To Start Recycling

There are plenty of steps you can take to recycle. Start with the 4 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle. Then make simple changes:

Skip the plastic bags. Supermarkets now provide reusable bags, rather than plastic, so be sure to load up on these and keep them somewhere handy. You might also consider keeping your fresh fruit and veggies loose when you do your groceries, rather than using the roll bags they provide. 

Don’t throw out scrap paper, but rather, use it for crafts with the kids. You can do the same sort of thing with old jars and containers. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have a little fun with what you have available. 

Avoid using paper napkins and towels and opt for cloth ones instead. These will reduce your paper consumption and they are easy enough to wash. You could also consider cloth nappies and reusable period undies rather than sanitary napkins. 

Other things you can do include starting a compost pile so you can recycle any food waste – and save money on fertilizer for the garden at the same time! You can also upcycle or donate old furniture, clothing and other household items; and get to know your local Container Deposit Scheme (Return and Earn in NSW), set up as an incentive that gives you a cash refund on any containers you return. 

Finally, set up a recycle bin next to your regular rubbish bin. Indoors, this is as simple as buying yourself two bins, one for recyclables and one for general trash. Outdoors, it’s even easier. Every home in Australia should have a bin with a yellow lid – if you don’t, get in touch with your local City Council and order one. They’re free. Your yellow bin is for recyclables only, and it’s picked up by your local garbos every two weeks. However, recycling effectively isn’t as simple as throwing all your bottles and paper into that bin and waiting for collection.

What Can Be Recycled?

In general, there are five materials that can be recycled. Cans made from aluminium and steel; glass bottles and jars; paper products, including cardboard, printed paper, magazines; food and beverage cartons, such as milk cartons and soup cartons; and plastics that have the number 1 or 2 in the recycle symbol – including water bottles, some jugs and tubs, and so on. With an extensive list, it’s probably easier to talk about what you can’t recycle instead… 

What Can’t Be Recycled?

While most every day items can be recycled in some form or another, there are a number of items that end up as landfill. These include:

  • Oils
  • Medical waste
  • Polystyrene
  • Garden waste
  • Disposable nappies
  • Plastic bags
  • Recyclables that you’ve thrown out IN plastic bags
  • Bubble wrap
  • Ovenware
  • Ceramics
  • Light bulbs
  • Plastic cups and plates
  • Straws
  • Window glass
  • Chip packets
  • Cutlery
  • Plastic toys

If you’re not sure, do a simple search online. 

Tip: You can generally recycle anything made from cardboard or paper, and some plastics. That doesn’t mean you can throw all these into your yellow bin, though, so check with your local council for details on what can and can’t be included. 

Anything that can’t be recycled can go in your regular rubbish bin, or can be taken to the local transfer station.

Recyclables You Might Not Know About

There are a range of other items you can recycle as well, though these are less commonly recognised, including:

  • Lead acid batteries
  • Mobile phones
  • Soft plastics
  • Garden waste
  • Organic waste
  • Scrap metal
  • Old clothing, blankets and sheets
  • Printer cartridges
  • Electronic items
  • Household chemicals
  • Chemical containers

To recycle these, you may need professional assistance as they must be handled correctly. 

Avoid Contamination 

While filling your yellow bin is great, if it’s not done properly, it’s no good. As such, it’s essential that you take note of items that may cause contamination. For example, although your pizza box is recyclable, if there is any leftover pizza in it – it spoils the process. If your paper bag from your KFC lunch has a lot of oil attached, it’s rubbish. Wine or water bottles with the lid still on them? Rubbish. But if you take the lid off, you can recycle them. 

There’s no need to rinse your containers before putting them in the bin, as long as they are empty and dry. And if you’re not sure on which plastics you can recycle, do the scrunch test. If you can scrunch the plastic into a ball – don’t put it in your yellow bin. Instead, you can take this to the REDcycle bin at your local supermarket. 

How Can Cheapest Load Of Rubbish Help?

The good news is that if you’re unsure where to take your rubbish, Cheapest Load of Rubbish is just a phone call away. CLOR are rubbish removal experts in Sydney region, providing everything from warehouse rubbish removal and residential rubbish removal, to demolition rubbish removal and office rubbish removal. We ensure your recyclables are taken to the local recycling centre or, if they are in good enough condition, we’ll take them straight to a local charity. If your items can’t be recycled, we’ll take them to the local transfer station. Best of all, we will clean up when we go – leaving only footprints!