LIFT THE LID ON RECYCLING IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD.
We all know that feeling. It’s bin night and we suddenly realise we’re due to put the bins out … but which colour is it? No one can ever remember! You’ll pop your head over the fence and look down the street in the hope that a helpful neighbour can determine which bin it is. However, there’s something more important than knowing which bin to put out and that’s knowing what to put in which bin. While South Australians lead the nation in recycling activity, the wrong items continue to be placed in the kerbside collected bins. Most councils have great green bin systems allowing you to put anything that can be eaten, along with certified compostable food containers, in there. Nonetheless, a shocking 40% of entirely recyclable food waste is still making its way into the waste bin. This means we are sending our valuable organic materials to landfill. It’s time to make a change and work out exactly what we can put in our green bin. You may be surprised to know that items such as bones (raw and cooked), dairy, cooking oil, hair and nail clippings and even pizza boxes with grease can be placed straight into the green organic bin. Items that can be put into most green bins where food waste is accepted include:
- Bark/twigs/untreated wood
- Bones (raw & cooked)
- Certified compostable utensils including coffee cups/lids, cutlery, plates, bags etc.
- Coffee grounds/beans
- Cooked food including take away
- Cooking oil
- Hair and nail clippings (human & pets)
- Wooden ice cream sticks
- Oyster shells
- Pencils (& sharpening)
- Pizza boxes with food/grease
- Post-it notes
- Teabags (even with the string and tag) and tea leaves
A good way to remember is that “if it didn’t grow, it doesn’t go”; nothing metal or plastic can make its way into the organics bin. You can also recycle compostable items straight into the green organics bin. Be wary of products claiming to be ’biodegradable’ and ‘degradable’ as there is a big difference. Compostable items such as bags or food utensils are made from plant-based materials such as corn or wheat starch and can be broken down by heat, water, oxygen, fungi or bacteria. Degradable items are not made using living organisms and are not compostable. Chemical additives are used in plastic to allow for bags to break down more quickly. However, degradable items will disintegrate into tiny pieces of microplastic, posing a big threat to our environment. Understanding which items can go in each bin is important. It is also crucial that we pay attention to what we are purchasing in the first place. Australians are wasting a massive 20% of the food that they buy. That is the same as taking $100 to the supermarket and throwing $20 away before you have even entered the store. By reducing the amount of food we waste and putting a real effort into understanding which items can go into the green waste bin, we can make a huge impact on the environment, including the reduction of gas emissions. It is the small, simple things that make the biggest difference. For an easy guide to recycling, no matter which South Australian council, suburb or region you live in, visit www.whichbin.sa.gov.au today.