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Sustainability

Top six recycling mistakes to avoid

Recycling being disposed of in a yellow recycling bin.

Learn how to recycle right to do your bit for the planet.

Unfortunately, some waste items are ending up in the wrong bins, which contaminates our recycling system and undoes the hard work of people’s recycling efforts.

The most powerful thing all of us can do to help create a cleaner, greener future is to avoid creating waste in the first place. However, if you do use an item be sure to dispose of it correctly.

Here are six things that don’t go in your recycling bin:

1. Recycling in a plastic bag

If the items you put in your recycling bin are inside a plastic bag, they will end up in landfill. Only loose items can be sorted and recycled correctly, and then turned into new products.

2. Soft plastics

Bread bags, biscuit wrappers, chip packets and other soft plastics that you can easily scrunch in your hand don’t go in your recycling bin. Take these items to REDcycle drop-off points at local supermarkets.

3. Polystyrene

If you’ve made a big purchase, flatten cardboard boxes and put them in your recycling bin. Polystyrene goes in your general waste bin as it easily breaks up into small pieces that can’t be sorted, contaminating other recyclables.

4. Clothing, shoes and other textiles

Fabric can get stuck in sorting machines, which makes it harder for other items to get recycled. Swap unwanted items of clothing with friends, donate them to charity or turn them into something new.

5. Food waste

Organic waste accounts for more than half of household waste, and it doesn’t decompose naturally in landfill. Please keep it out of your yellow-lid recycling bin. Find out how to get a discounted home composting system at Food waste.

6. Disposable face masks

Single-use face masks don’t belong in your recycling bin and should be disposed of in your general waste bin. Where possible, swap single-use masks for reusable options.

To find out more, visit Waste reduction.

You might also be interested to read How to fight the war on waste from home or follow Erin Rhoads on a sustainable shopping trip to Queen Victoria Market in Inspiration from a zero-waste expert.

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