Everyone produces waste in some way shape or form. No ... not that kind, we’re talking about household waste. What goes into your bin - general or recycling - is unique and can say a lot about you.
So what's usually in there?
Firstly is the one we hear the most about - plastic. The one that we’re never sure which bin to use. Are the hard plastics recyclable? Or the soft? Or both?! Whether it’s technically recyclable or not, plastic usually comes from packaging or disposable products and can make up anywhere between 10-20% of the average bin.
The next is definitely recyclable - in fact, as we’ve written about before, aluminium is the world’s most recyclable material! While metals make up a small fraction of the average home’s waste they can almost always be sorted out at recycling facilities and reused, with the help of some pretty massive magnets.
Like metal, glass only takes up a small amount of your waste stream (depending on wine consumption) but it’s not quite as well recycled, with only a quarter having a second life.
While you’re definitely creating e-waste when you decide to upgrade to the latest iPhone, it’s definitely not something that can go in the bin. This is because it contains a lot of hazardous materials and precious metals.
As for the rest, from food scraps to tissues to cardboard - all organic.
Now, everyone will have a unique waste composition of these but what we have in common is that it all needs to be reduced, reused or recycled. Well (as always) we’re here to show you exactly how you can do that!
Plastics are in that reduce camp. Unfortunately plastic recycling infrastructure is seriously inadequate and with China’s recent ban on plastic imports, you’re pretty much guaranteed it’s going to landfill. Avoid plastic packaging like the plague and always go for the non-plastic option (even if it’s a bit more expensive).
As mentioned, metals are usually always recycled, just make sure they’re in that yellow-topped bin. With glass, it’s less certain so if you can find a bottle collection scheme try and use that. You can even use the 10c reimbursement to justify all the wine!
For e-waste, always, always, ALWAYS donate to a dedicated e-waste drop-off, unless you’re happy eating mercury-poisoned fish.
And finally for organic waste - do we even need to say it? Compost*.
*Now, there is some debate over whether to compost or recycle paper and cardboard, with those in the latter camp saying it’s higher value to recycle. We disagree (though we might be a little biased). These materials add much needed carbon to a compost pile and there’s always the risk your recyclables might not even make it to a recovery centre.
Be safe. Compost your paper.