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We all know that the life of our waste doesn’t end when the rubbish trucks drive past in the early hours of the morning - although it’s easy to adopt an ‘out of sight and out of mind’ attitude once they’d been and gone and we’re left with a fresh slate for the week. This way of thinking is slowly being challenged thanks to the rise of social media activism where being blind to our waste is no longer an option due to our feeds being “littered” with confronting images of our rubbish and its deadly impact on our environment.
While recycling is brilliant (when done correctly), reducing or reusing should be our first consideration when purchasing new items. It’s only when both options are exhausted that we should turn to how we can best recycle our waste. Recycling services do differ from council to council, so we decided to detail below a basic Recycling 101 to serve as a refresher as to what can and cannot be recycled as well as explain what exactly those REDcycle bins are and how our F&F and Terracycle service (that’s regularly promoted here at F&F) actually works.
Back to the basics - What can I recycle?
In most suburbs in Australia, at home recyclable products break down into two categories:
Paper & cardboard
Containers/packaging - Many items made of plastic, aluminium, steel and glass can be recycled .
plastic soft-drink and water bottles
aluminium and steel tins/cans
glass bottles and jars
juice and milk cartons and bottles
plastic food containers
What are those triangles again?
The number in the triangle identifies the type of plastic a container is made from, not whether or not it is recyclable. The symbol can be mistaken for something being recyclable. Check with your council what is accepted.
Paper and Cardboard - You can recycle all sorts of paper and cardboard items including those listed below:
newspapers and magazines (staples are fine)
advertising material (remove plastic wrap)
Pizza boxes can generally be recycled if there aren't too many food scraps stuck on
Items that cannot be recycled at home:
polystyrene such as foam packaging/food trays
window glass, light globes, mirrors
pyrex, crockery, drinking glasses
sharps and syringes
waxed or cardboard containers with food scraps, tissue paper and napkins cannot be recycled
This is a good checklist to see what your council does and does not recycle. Some of them have good websites now but, from our research, there are differences and there isn't a one size fits all approach.
So what do I do with plastic bags and soft plastics?
All of our major supermarkets now accept plastic shopping bags for recycling. There is usually a plastic bag recycling collection bin at the front of the store or in the carpark. The REDcycle program is a fantastic scheme that now recycles the below soft plastics (including plastic bags!).
Your empty soft plastics will be recycled into useful new products like signage, fitness circuits and outdoor furniture.
F&F Recycling Program
Not sure what to do with your empty beauty tubes or make up tubs? We’ve got the solution for you - anything bought at Flora & Fauna can now be returned to us and we will collate, separate and recycle. We work with TerraCycle who help eliminate waste by recycling the non-recyclable. In exchange for returning your empty products we will credit your Flora & Fauna account AU $10.00 for being planet friendly and helping our environment! Read more about our program.
What does TerraCycle do?
Terracycle can collect, and recycle, almost any form of waste. So whether that is coffee pods, beauty tubes, juice packets and even chip bags, Terracycle make new products out of the waste. With beauty products they melt the plastic and remould it into new recycled products such as bench seats, chairs and tables. You can find out more here. We also have TerraCycle boxes that you can use in your home and work to recycle. These are sent back to TerraCycle for recycling. There are snack wrapper ones for break rooms and much more.
When in Doubt
Recycling Near You is a fantastic site where you can find out about what you can and can't recycle as well as search for drop-off locations to recycle a wide range of items including electronic waste, batteries, printer cartridges, whitegoods, furniture etc.