Most of us sort our waste diligently, giving our plastic containers a rinse before putting them in the recycling bin and wishing them well on their journey..and of course patting ourselves on the back for contributing to a sustainable society.
Yet, when it comes to specific types of plastics like hard heat treated plastic (biscuit containers, meat trays, berry containers) and certain coloured plastics we have hit a roadblock. In many areas of Australia (like where we live) the recycling plants have to put these into landfill because there is no market for the end product in Australia. If nobody is able to use this type of recycled plastic then into the bin it goes. From what we can work out this isn’t the case in all areas of Australia, but what they do with them given there is no market for the end product here remains a mystery to us.
In addition to this, plastic and metal that is too small (such as bread tags and bottle lids) are missed in many recycling operations. Do we keep the lids on bottles or take them off? And of course we all know the dramas we've had with soft plastics not being recycled. It's so disheartening to see items end up in landfill when we are actively trying to make a positive impact.
The Need for Proper Education and a Country Wide System
We believe one of the key issues lies in the lack of proper education regarding recycling. How are we expected to make informed choices when even common household items can't be recycled? Moreover one council will have different rules to another, so any rules we once knew are null and void when we move. It's essential that we address this knowledge gap and equip ourselves with accurate information about what can and cannot be recycled.
Raising Awareness and Seeking Solutions
As individuals, we can play an active role in raising awareness about the challenges of recycling and the need for education. By engaging in conversations with our friends, family, and community, we can highlight the importance of seeking accurate information. Wouldn't it be great if it was the norm for local recycling plants to have regular tours for new residents to the area. Or new residents are all given a 5 min video to watch on the local recycling guidelines. Encouraging local authorities, recycling organisations, and manufacturers to provide clearer guidelines and labelling is another step toward alleviating confusion and ensuring responsible recycling practices.
Advocating for Change
It's time to advocate for change. As consumers, we have the power to influence the market and demand sustainable practices from manufacturers. By supporting businesses that prioritize eco-friendly packaging and recycling options, we can drive the shift towards a more circular economy. Let's voice our concerns, write to our local representatives, and participate in community initiatives that promote recycling education and infrastructure.
Empowering Ourselves and Others
While the challenges of recycling can be discouraging, we must remember that we are not alone in this journey. Together, we can seek education, share knowledge, and empower one another to make better choices. Let's engage with recycling programs, attend workshops, and leverage online resources to educate ourselves about local recycling guidelines. By equipping ourselves with accurate information, we can confidently navigate the recycling maze and make a meaningful difference.
We encourage you to join us on this journey of unraveling the mystery of recycling. Let's strive for a future where proper education empowers us to make informed decisions, and where even the most common household items find sustainable pathways for recycling. Together, we can create a greener and more environmentally conscious world for generations to come.