8 things you didn’t know you could recycle
Author: Rachael Ridley
Australia is a country of keen recyclers with nine in ten agreeing it’s the right thing to do. But most of us are completely unaware that some of the things we’re chucking in the garbage can actually be recycled. In this article, we’re busting the myth that just because something can’t be put in your council recycling bin, doesn’t mean it isn’t recyclable.
1. Mobile phones
Most of us have an old mobile or two stashed away in our drawers as a back-up, but how many of us will ever actually reuse them? 74% of Australians know that mobiles cannot be recycled in your council kerbside bin.1 Luckily there are 3,500 MobileMuster drop-off points around Australia. Better yet, if the phone is still working, they can be refurbished and donated to those in need. You can also host a Monday Muster at your workplace this November to help us recycle 5,000 mobile phones. There are five $100 JB H-Fi vouchers up for grabs! Find mobile recycling near you.
2. Printer cartridges
Cartridges 4 Planet Ark has recycled more than 43 million printer cartridges, converting the materials into road surfaces, decks and garden beds, and rescuing the leftover ink to be used in pens and ink for artists. There are literally thousands of drop-off points across Australia thanks to the participating manufacturers – Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta and Kyocera. You can also sign up for a collection box at your workplace. Find cartridge recycling near you.
3. Coffee capsules
Nespresso has done something about the fact that aluminium coffee capsules are too small to be sorted and recycled in kerbside collections in Australia. They have created their own dedicated recycling system for their used aluminium coffee capsules, capturing the coffee grounds for compost and recovering the aluminium for reuse. There are more than 22,000 collection points throughout Australia, including Nespresso boutiques and participating florists. You can also get a Bulk Recycling Box for your workplace. Find coffee capsule recycling near you.
Aussies love their electronics. Electronic waste (e-waste) is growing three times faster than other waste stream in Australia! The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme provides Australians with free industry-funded collection and recycling services for TVs, computers and computer accessories. Find recycling options for electrical appliances, computers and televisions near you.
5. Plastic bags and soft plastics
41% of Aussies are incorrectly putting soft plastics (the kind that can be scrunched into a ball) in their council recycling bins1. This is a major problem as they contaminate the recycling stream and get caught in the machinery. You can take your soft plastics to REDcycle bins located at all Woolworths and Coles stores across the country. Find soft plastics recycling near you.
Paint contains chemicals such as solvents and metals that can contaminate ground water and have negative effects on human health and the environment when they are dumped in landfill or littered. The good news is, there are thousands of PaintBack collection points across Australia where you can safely and responsibly dispose of your unwanted paint. Find paint recycling near you.
Australians throw away around 1.25 million mattresses every year, but many of the components in mattresses, such as wood, springs and foam, can be recycled into lots of different products. Whilst mattresses won’t fit in your council recycling bin, a number of mattress recyclers operate in Australia, so you can sleep easy knowing your old mattress has been given new life. Find mattress recycling near you.
It may not seem like a tiny battery could cause much harm, but many contain toxic metals such as mercury and lead, which pose a threat to our environment when sent to landfill (Victoria is leading the way by banning e-waste from landfill). ALDI has a free battery recycling service, which accepts any brand of AA, AAA, C, D and 9V sized batteries (rechargeable and non-rechargeable). Find household battery and car battery recycling near you.
Learn about other recycling mythbusters for National Recycling Week!
1Planet Ark commissioned research by Pollinate 2019
Rachael joined Planet Ark in 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael is excited to use her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change.
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