Kerbside recycling audit reveals contamination and ‘wishful recycling’
A kerbside recycling audit has revealed high levels of contamination in kerbside recycling bins in the Shire.
While most people are doing the right thing around 13 per cent of the contents placed into kerbside recycling bins was considered to be contamination and ended up in landfill.
Approximately 13.22 tonnes of material was collected from more than 1300 kerbside recycling bins throughout the Shire. The bins were audited at the Visy Materials Recovery Facility in Heidelberg.
People can place paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, plastic containers, steel food containers, aerosol cans, aluminium cans, glass bottles and jars in kerbside recycling bins.
The most common contaminated items were soft plastics, people placing recyclables in plastic bags, household garbage, textiles and bulky items like electrical goods, containers, pots and pans.
Council representatives were on site during the audit.
Mitchell Shire Councillor David Atkinson, who attended the facility, said it looked like there was a culture of ‘wishful recycling’ impacting the contamination rate as well as confusion around soft plastics.
“Placing non-recyclable items in your kerbside recycling bin can potentially contaminate entire truck loads of recyclables despite the best of intentions,” he said.
“One of the main concerns discovered during the audit was the disposal of soft plastics such as food wrappers and plastic bags into recycling bins.
“There were also a large number of recyclables in plastic bags being placed into recycling bins.”
At the moment soft plastics can’t be recycled through kerbside recycling bins. Soft plastics can be recycled through REDcycle bins at participating supermarkets otherwise they should be put in the garbage bin.
Cr Atkinson said the effort was there, but if you are in doubt, leave it out.
For more information on what you can and can't recycle, please visit our guide to kerbside recycling.