As one of the largest producers of rubbish in the world, Australia generates around 50 million tonnes of rubbish every year. If we continue at the same rate, this amount is expected to double by 2040. And by 2050, there could be more plastics in our ocean than fish. It’s so easy to overlook this when we don’t see the negative effects of our pollution on a daily basis, but plastic is a huge problem.
Plastic is cheap, abundant, and easy to mould, which is why we’ve been using it everywhere. It’s in product packaging, shopping bags, mobile phones, and cosmetics. It’s even in our chewing gum. And all of this plastic has a devastating effect on our environment because it will outlive us, our children, and even our children’s children. Whether it’s polluting our oceans, killing our wildlife, or ending up in landfills, plastic waste is choking our planet.
Why Is Recycling So Important?
Despite our plastic use continually rising, recycling paper, glass, cardboard, metals, and some plastics significantly reduces the impact this waste has on the environment. By using a service for rubbish removal Sydney, they are all sent to resource recovery plants. The reusable material is then extracted from them to be reused in the manufacturing of new products.
Not only does recycling preserve our valuable landfill space, but it also conserves valuable resources which we would otherwise use in the manufacturing process of brand new products. Another benefit of recycling our waste is it causes less harm to our wildlife and marine animals.
Unfortunately, around 10% of Australians still can’t be bothered to recycle. A large amount of rubbish that could have otherwise been recycled still ended up in landfills, which is unsustainable when these materials should have been redeployed. Because the more we reuse and recycle, the less waste is buried in landfill, and the better it is for our planet.
Pollution is a global problem that affects us all. This should be fairly straightforward for people to understand. But reducing our plastic consumption ultimately requires a change in habits as well as mindset. And for that to happen, it’s very important that we all know how to identify the difference between recyclable and non-recyclable plastic.
What Are The Plastic Identification Codes?
In order to overcome some of the confusion faced by consumers when knowing what can be recycled, APCO (Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation) launched the Plastics Identification Code on our Australasian Recycling Labels in 2018. The Plastics Identification Code makes it easier to identify plastics that can be reused in a variety of applications as per below:
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles for water, soft drink, and fruit juice, as well as fruit punnets and meat trays.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) bottles for milk, bleach, and laundry detergent.
Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride (UPVC) bottles for cordial, liquid soap, and some fruit juice.
Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) & Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) plastic bags, garbage bags, chip packets, plastic wrap, squeeze bottles, and black irrigation tube.
Polypropylene (PP) bottles, bottle caps, and rigid packaging containers used for margarine, ice cream, and yoghurt.
Polystyrene (PS) coffee cup lids, plastic cups, coat hangers, clamshells, medical disposables, and some yoghurt or dairy containers.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam packaging, packing peanuts, and Styrofoam boxes.
Includes resins and other materials of unknown composition such as nylon, acrylic, polycarbonates (PC), polyurethane (PU), and phenolics used in furniture, electrical, automotive, aircraft, marine, and medical parts.
It’s important to note that these Plastics Identification Codes found on plastics only advise the different types of plastic resin used in each product. So just because it has a numbered symbol, doesn’t mean it is recyclable. For example, most hard plastics with a number 1 through 7 can be disposed of in your recycling bin, but plastic bags with a number 2 or number 4 and expanded polystyrene foam with a number 6 cannot. These should be recycled by a rubbish removal expert like Cheapest Load of Rubbish.
What Can You Do To Use Less Plastic?
While we should all be reducing, reusing, and recycling, it should be in that order of priority. In other words, recycling should ultimately be the very last line of defence against pollution. What we need to be doing first is choosing products with minimal to no waste at all, which reduces the need for them at all.
If it’s not a one-time use product, start by thinking about whether you need it at all. If you do decide it is a need and not a want, find out if there’s a similar non-plastic option available, whether from that manufacturer or elsewhere. If you have no other choice, look for plastic products that are already recycled, or find ways to reuse the product again as many times as possible.
When it comes to drinking containers, Australians use more than 1 billion so-called “disposable” coffee cups each year and millions of plastic straws. To help stop this, purchase your own reusable Keep Cup for coffees and stop using straws, even in take away restaurants. If you can’t do without a straw, buy your own reusable straw made of glass or stainless steel. You should also dispose of all single-use plastic bottles at container depots if available in your state.
At the shopping centre, choose bulk products and unwrapped produce where possible, and bring your own bags for vegetables. Purchase items like detergents in cardboard boxes instead of plastic bottles, as they are more easily recycled. If there are no other options than buying products in plastic containers, find ways to reuse them rather than throwing them away. Also, avoid cosmetics with micro-plastics and say no to balloons. Always wear natural fabrics, use cloth baby diapers, get a biodegradable toothbrush, and get involved with Clean Up Australia.
What can you do with non-recyclable plastics?
Because not all plastics and other rubbish can be recycled, the easiest thing to do is use a rubbish removal service like Cheapest Load of Rubbish. Not only can we determine what can be recycled, but we can also remove any other waste for you. Once all of your rubbish has been loaded onto our trucks, we take it all back to our headquarters for sorting and correctly distributing it all to transfer stations or recycling plants. We are proud of our recycling effort, with around 80 per cent of all waste we collect is reused or recycled.
To make a substantial difference, we all need to do better and improve our recycling habits. Together we can all help reduce our landfill, lessen our contamination of land, look after our waterways, and make our world a much better place to live.