Top 6 holiday tips from RecyclingNearYou
Author: Liam Taylor
We know what you searched for last summer. But don’t fear, the only killer here is poor recycling habits! By looking at last year’s visits to RecyclingNearYou we’ve come up with a list of your top recycling questions of the holiday season. Now it’s time to answer them.
1. E-waste (computers, electronical appliances, mobiles and televisions)
E-waste is by far the fastest growing waste stream in Australia, encouraged by our consumption behaviours and the technological revolution we find ourselves in. These products contain materials such as gold, nickel and copper, which are not only valuable but also potentially hazardous in landfill.
Luckily, there are free and reputable schemes in Australia available to the public for many of these products.
- TechCollect is a free national recycling service for computers and their accessories and televisions under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.
- MobileMuster is the official recycling program for old mobile phones, funded voluntarily by the mobile industry.
- Cartridges 4 Planet Ark is a product stewardship program providing Australians with thousands of drop-off locations for printer cartridges.
- For other e-waste and appliances, search RecyclingNearYou to find recycling options in your local area.
2. Container Deposit Schemes (bottles, cans and cartons)
As the bevvies go down over the holiday season the number of bottles, cans and other drinking containers goes way up. With waste becoming a bigger and bigger problem, container deposit schemes (CDS) provide a method to reduce litter and recycle more while benefitting from the refund. This financial incentive leads to cleaner beaches, waterways, parks and streets, and means fewer recyclable materials are sent to landfill. This is especially relevant over the holiday period when we love to get out and about in nature, whether it be on the beach, at the local park or in the bush.
- Items such as plastic bottles, beverage cartons and aluminium cans under one litre can all be recycled through your local CDS. To find out more, visit our CDS information page.
- If you don’t have a CDS in your state or close enough to you, these items can still be put in your kerbside recycling (make sure you check if your council accepts beverage cartons, because not all do).
3. Clothing and other textiles
Over the holiday period when people are both more likely to make new clothing purchases and undertake home clean ups, the number of textiles going to landfill increases dramatically. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some holiday hacks for getting those items reused or recycled:
- Donate to local animal shelters/vets to be used as bedding or to car mechanics to be used as rags.
- Find your local charity drop off point to donate good quality clothing and textiles for reuse.
- Find clothing retailers like H&M,or Sheridan where you can drop off clothing and/or textiles for recycling.
Reducing the risk of fires in waste and recycling facilities is more important than ever with the current fire season. Rechargeable batteries and lithium ion batteries are particularly hazardous and could spark a fire in trucks or recycling facilities. This includes batteries used in laptops, mobile phones, power tools and cameras. No battery should ever be put in the recycling bin or in your waste bin. Here are some alternative disposal methods that will ensure your batteries are recycled safely:
- Find retail outlets like Aldi, Battery World and Officeworks to recycle your batteries.
- Find out if your council offers drop off locations for battery recycling.
5. Paper and cardboard
Christmas cards made primarily from cardboard and gift wrapping made from paper, are both recyclable in your council kerbside recycling bin as long they are not covered with other items like tinsel or plastic. It’s important to recycle cardboard and paper cards because if they break down in landfill, they create methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Some ideas for reducing Christmas paper and cardboard waste include:
- Turn cards or wrapping paper into decorations for next Christmas.
- Store wrapping paper or gift bags with your Christmas decorations to reuse next year.
- Use greeting cards or wrapping paper made with recycled content - find options in our Recycled Products Directory.
- Find out what paper and cardboard items are acceptable in your council recycling bin.
Whitegoods such as fridges, microwave ovens, washing machines and dishwashers contain metals that are easily recycled and other components that may be of value. Recycling prevents hazardous substances contained in whitegoods like flame-retardants or heavy metals from entering the environment. Here are some options if you’re replacing whitegoods over the holidays or at anytime:
- Some companies operate take-back schemes for their products.
- Second-hand dealers will accept whitegoods for refurbishing and resale.
- Find whitegoods recycling near you.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.
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