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December 2, 2022

Myth: Recyling doesn’t get recycled

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Staff sorting through recycling at the Materials Recovery Facility in Chinderah. Photo supplied.

You’re busted if you believe that myth – Your recycling does get recycled at a local facility in Chinderah.

As National Recycling Week gets underway from today, it is a time to celebrate our recycling achievements, brush up on our recycling skills and dispel some of the myths and uncertainty around what we can recycle and where it’s actually going.

Council’s Resource Recovery Unit Coordinator Rod Dawson said he realised recycling could be confusing, given the ever-changing nature of the industry. ‘What we can recycle and where it is processed relies on manufacturing companies being able to use our recycled content. And for people to buy recycled items, there needs to be a market for it.

‘It’s important for our community to know our recycling facilities have made great pathways and opportunities to process and use recyclables right here in Australia.

‘For instance, the plastic bottles and containers we put into our recycling bins are sent from our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Chinderah to Kangaroo Plastics Technology in Melbourne where they are sorted and granulated, ready to be used in manufacturing.

‘What people don’t realise is that small recycling efforts make a huge difference,’ said Mr Dawson. ‘There are 2 people at the facility who sort the recycling by hand. If recycling is done correctly, it means less contamination and a better outcome for the recycled material to be used again.’

What are some of the things we can do?

A loader picks up unsorted recycling material before moving it onto the conveyor belt at the Materials Recovery Facility at Chinderah. Photo supplied.

  • Keep recycling and keep buying recycled products
    Seek out a variety of everyday products – from toilet paper to pens, to other products such as flooring and fencing. Planet Ark’s Recycled Product Directory has it all. Visit recyclingnearyou.com.au/education/recycledproducts
  • Waste Wizard search tool
    Another great initiative recently launched along with Tweed Shire Council’s new website is the Waste Wizard search function. Search to find out ‘what goes where’. You can also provide feedback to help build further improvements. Visit tweed.nsw.gov.au/waste-wizard
  • Australasian Recycling Label (ARL)
    This special label on packaging provides easy-to-understand recycling information and guides you to dispose of all packaging elements. Although it is voluntary for companies to get the label, many products have these labels already and the initiative is growing. The ARL is an initiative of Planet Ark and APCO (Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation). Find out more at planetark.org/programs/australasian-recycling-label
  • Participate in National Recycling Week Trivia Night – 10 November
    If you love a good trivia challenge or consider yourself a bit of a waste-and-recycling aficionado, then get ready to have your brain teased with North East Waste’s National Recycling Week inspired Trivia Night. Hosted by Wipeout Waste expert, Reece Orse (pronounced Re-source), the event will be run live digitally via Zoom on Wednesday 10 November, from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm. Participants should be prepared for laughs and the possibility of winning some great sustainable prizes. Make sure to register to participate.

For further recycling and waste information or tips on how to re-organise your home waste systems to ensure the whole household is recycling right, visit newaste.org.au/recycleright and tweed.nsw.gov.au/waste-recycling. Watch the video of what happens at the recycling facility at tweed.nsw.gov.au/recycling-reducing-waste.

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  1. Re: plastic bottles and containers being sent to Kangaroo Plastics Technology in Melbourne. What is the environmental cost of this long-haul transport? That statement poses more questions than it answers.

  2. I have no doubt that most of our yellow bin (btw has anyone else noticed that our bins are the Rasta colours?) contents get SORTED. However, as far as RECYCLING goes try this simple experiment.:
    1) Take your yellow bins contents for one week and put them in a neat pile
    2) In a pile next to this place all the recycled items you have bought or reused during the same week

    Note the difference. This is the problem that no amount of sorting can fix. You can only fix it by reducing the amount of material in the yellow bin.


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