What is “Aspirational Recycling”? It is the desire for things to be recycled when they are not recyclable and by putting them in the recycling, you contaminate the recycling and it ends up in landfill.
Recycling the wrong products does more harm than good. If a batch of recycling is more than 0.5% impure, it may rejected by the buyer and sent to landfill as trash. The key message here is to ONLY recycle products that are truly recyclable and don’t use those that are not.
Let’s look at a few key offenders.
- Disposable drinking cups.
These have a plastic liner which means that without special machinery, they cannot be recycled. Putting them in the general recycling will contaminate it and risks the batch being sent to landfill.
The environment solution is: NEVER USE DISPOSABLE CUPS. Take your own cup with you and use it. Good coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing your own cup. Avoid those coffee shops that don’t reward you for using your own cup.
- Pizza boxes.
The key with pizza boxes is grease contamination. If your used pizza box has a lot of grease spots and especially if they have soaked through the box, put it in the trash or soak it in water and put it in the compost. Only clean grease free boxes should be put in the recycling. Greasy boxes may mean the recycling ends up in landfill.
- Disposable nappies.
Sorry, but these are an environment disaster. They are not recyclable for many reasons, such as the multiple layers of different materials but mostly because they contain human waste.
The solution is: don’t use them. Reusable nappies are more work cleaning them but you will be rewarded with much lower costs and you can feel good by minimizing the environmental damage. As an added bonus, reusable nappies have a whole new life as a cleaning cloth when your toddler is toilet trained!
- Plastic food containers.
These can as a general rule be recycled but the must be clean and free from food scraps and oil. If they are not, they will contaminate the recycling batch and may cause it to be rejected and sent to landfill as trash.
The rule with plastic containers is: CLEAN IT OR TRASH IT.
- Plastic bags.
Put simply: Prevention is better than cure. Don’t use them unless you have to.
Soft plastic bags can be recycled using the REDcycle bins located at Coles in Westlands. Any plastic that can be scrunched up into a ball in your hand can go into the REDcycle bins with the exception of biodegradable plastic or plastic that is contaminated with food or oils.
Plastic bags should NEVER be put in the yellow commingled recycle bins as they contaminate the material leading to more material going into landfill rather than being recycled.
Plastic bags are an environmental nightmare if the get into rivers or the sea as they breakdown into microplastic, which get eaten by fish and entering into the food chain, killing animals and contaminating out food supply.
Reducing the environmental impact of your pet.
Clean them and put them in the yellow commingled recycle bins provided by the Whyalla Council.
- Plastic dry food bags
Scrunch them up and put them in the REDcycle bin along with you shopping bags, food wrappers and any other clean DRY soft plastic. (At the moment that is at Coles at Westlands)
- Wet food pouches.
These can be recycled in the REDcycle bin PROVIDED THEY WASHED AND DRIED. All soft plastic entering the REDcycle bin must be dry to avoid mold forming.