Australia’s population has increased by just under 30% in the last 20 years. Unfortunately the waste we generated increased by 170%.
I am totally anal retentive when it comes to recycling and waste management. We used to live in a unit block and there were many things that I could have potentially got annoyed about. The thing that bothered me the most is that we all shared recycling bins. I got irritated every time I saw something that didn’t belong in the recycling. Plastic bags were a daily occurrence. One day the bin was even full of handbags (really?). Eventually the council stuck huge signs on all our bins with pictures of stuff and big ticks and crosses. The situation marginally improved.
Now we live in a house with our own bins I have complete control. I love control. I had two Americans stay at my house a few months ago. I think they were glad to leave so they could stop hearing my recycling lectures every time they put something in the wrong bin. My partner can’t escape and he is stuck with me.
Why am I anal retentive about recycling and waste? This is why.
The great news is though, this week is National Recycling Week. It is my time to shine!
Research conducted in 2010 showed that recyclers have better life satisfaction and wellbeing. Don’t just do it for the environment, do it for yourself.
Here are my OCD recycling tips so everyone can get it right (or righter (I now that is not a word)).
- Dont tie up your recycling in plastic bags. The first step in the recycling process is hand sorting. If the workers come across a plastic bag full of stuff they don’t sort through it. The whole bag goes in the garbage waste.
- Glass bottle and jars, paper and cardboard, metals including aluminium foil and aerosol cans as well as rigid plastic can be recycled. As long as the stuff is empty and clean enough.
- Soft plastics can’t be recycled in our bins. 1 in 2 Australians think that they can. All’s not lost, you can Redcycle them. There are Redcycle bins at the front of most Coles and Woolworths. You can put plastic bags and lots of other soft plastic in there such as bubble wrap. You can even recycle your old green reusable shopping bags.
- Do you have three old mobile phones sitting around? Recycle them! Lookup Mobile Muster. There are lots of places you can drop them off to be recycled including Australia Post. According to Planet Ark there are 25.5 million mobile phones in Australia, we don’t even have that many people.
- Buy recyclable material. Otherwise what is the point? Buy toilet paper, office paper, gift cards and anything your heart desires that has been recycled.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Don’t forget the words reduce and reuse come before recycling. Most people are great at recycling, but it can only take us so far. Reduce consumption first, reuse things second, recycling is your final priority.
I am a hypocrite because I use disposable nappies when I know I should be using reusable cloth nappies. I am becoming increasingly conscious of all the plastic I use. Every bit of plastic that has ever been made is still around on this planet. It is not biodegradable.
I am doing a few things like getting rid of plastic cling wrap film. Instead I am storing food in Pyrex and hard plastic containers. I have just purchased some cloth food wraps too. We stopped buying fruit and vegetables from Aldi because there is so much packaging involved (and a few other reasons). I hope to increase my efforts with reducing plastic consumption in the near future.
I did a bit of research before writing this post, because I didn’t want to say anything that was wrong. I was appalled to learn I am still making a rookie recycling error. I have been recycling Pringles tubes! You can’t because they are made up of multiple different materials. So there you go, I am no longer perfect.
If you want some more information I have provided some links below. And remember – Captain Planet, he’s our hero! Gonna take pollution down to zero. The power is yours!
Thanks for reading and have fun recycling!