A recent survey by Nestlé found that most Australians (95%) claimed to be confident in their ability to recycle, but the same research found that a whopping 88% of us are still putting items in the wrong bin.
So, for that reason, we’ve tapped into the expertise of recycling pro Kat Springer of The Organised Housewife to share with us four tips on recycling, all of which you should probably know by now. Fortunately for you, this is a safe space, so, if you don’t happen to know these already and are only finding out now, we won’t judge you.
Remember that though recycling may feel complicated, it truly is these small changes you make at home that can help to make a big difference in the long run. So, that said, here are Springer’s top four recycling tips.
Tip 1: Check It Before You Chuck It
The first step for you to take is to check your food packaging for the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL). Not all packaging has clear information, but if it has the ARL, it’s very simple and easy to read and understand. The ARL offers clear instructions on the best way to dispose of your packaging — including any special instructions to follow, such as scrunching, rinsing or flattening, to ensure the material is recycled properly. Simply look for the ARL on the back of the item or its packaging, so you can recycle it correctly.
Tip 2: Don’t Place Your Items in the Recycling Bin in a Bag
Even though it might make sense to store all your recyclables in one bag to keep everything tidy, your recyclables cannot be recycled when they are in a plastic bag. It’s best to put your recyclables loose in the bin. Springer says she has clear tubs in her pantry, which she uses to store recyclable items. They help to keep the place tidy and make it easy when it comes time to put those items in the recycling bin.
Tip 3: Rinse Items of Any Leftover Food or Residue
You might have the best intentions when it comes to putting food containers in the recycling bin, but make sure they have been rinsed so there is no leftover food or residue on them, as this will prevent them from being recycled.
Tip 4: Flatten Cardboard Boxes and Egg Cartons
Don’t forget to flatten all of your cardboard boxes — and even your egg cartons — before you put them in your recycling bin. Not only will this help you have more space in the recycling bin, but it will also help make sure that cardboard is sorted correctly with paper at the recycling centre.
For pizza boxes, be sure to tear the top part of the box off if it has cheese grease on it. This part of the box will need to go in the regular bin and can’t be recycled. This goes for any cardboard takeaway containers, too. If they have food on them, they can’t be recycled.