Cleaner Communities: Five recycling tips to help the planet

In that vein, here are some great recycling tips which hopefully clear up some misconceptions about the practice.

1. Plastic bags

Although these may not be an issue for much longer, with major retailers Coles and Woolworths pledging to ban them, some local councils permit plastic bags being placed in yellow-top recycling bins – but be sure to check first before you do so. Failing that, plenty of supermarkets have large plastic-bag recycling bins at the front of the store. Though the best defence against plastic bags is, of course, to refuse them in the first place, recycling them – preventing them from ending up in landfill or our waterways, where they pose a threat to wildlife – is a no-brainer.

To check what your local council recycles, visit recyclingnearyou.com.au.

2. Steel beer bottle tops

These present a unique problem for recycling facilities. Steel bottle tops are too small to be thrown straight into the yellow-top recycling bin because they will fall through sorting machines. The best way to handle them is to place them in an empty steel can which is then crushed closed. Magnets at the recycling plant will pick up the can and tops before melting them down for reuse.

3. Glass jars and bottles

All glass jars and bottles can be recycled – yep, that means beer, wine and soft-drink bottles, sauce bottles, jam jars, anything. But there are a few things that need to be done first. First, remove the lid or bottle top (plastic bottle tops CANNOT be recycled and should be thrown in the rubbish). Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to rinse them – just scrape out the remnants and you’re good to go. No need to take off the label either, though you can if you want to recycle the paper.

4. Cardboard

So, the answer to the question you’ve all been asking is … YES – you do need to remove that last bit of pineapple or rogue olive from the pizza box before putting it in the recycling bin. Some councils don’t take pizza boxes, so you’re best off checking first. But pretty much all cardboard is recycleable, with cereal boxes, egg cartons, toilet roll holders and just about everything else you can think of able to be used again.

5. Electronics

Just because your old telly is no longer fit for broadcasting Starsky and Hutch or Magnum PI, or your old computer that ran on steam power and Windows 95, that doesn’t mean it should just be left on the side of the road. There are many things inside our electronics that have absolutely no place in our groundwater. And would you believe most ‘e-waste’, as it’s become known, is recycleable. So much of our electronics – TVs, mobiles, batteries, faxes (what?), whitegoods and cameras – can be recycled. Some councils hold special recycling days for various products, like this weekend’s whitegoods amnesty in Tamala Park.

Check with recyclingnearyou.com.au  to see the best place near you to recycle your old electronics.