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Which bin do I stick it in?

03 October, 2008

Are you one of those people who faces the same confusion each week - which bin do I stick my recyclable packaging in?

Plastic, cardboard, polystyrene, polypropylene - it can be a recycling labyrinth. Is the chicken tray OK? Which bin do I part with my waxed cardboard milk cart?

Chair of the National Packaging Covenant Council and president of the Municipal Association of Victoria, Cr Dick Gross, is calling on all councils in Australia to familiarise themselves with the national standards for bin lid covers**.

Cr Gross says people are confused because different areas have different recycle plants which accept different recyclables, councils vary in their use of recycle bin lid colours, brand owners do not always clearly mark packages as to the recyclable materials they contain. In addition, he says there is a need for wider community education and awareness programs.

"Councils need to familiarise themselves with the national standard on bin lid colours and there needs to be a national education campaign to help people make the right decision. Brand owners have a responsibility to clearly mark their package type for recycling. Recycling plants vary across Australia and there is no uniformity so it is fair to say there is pretty much mass confusion out there," Cr Gross said.

"Items such as plastic bags, batteries and ceramics cause havoc at recycling plants. A 10 cent size ceramic piece in your recycling bin can cause a tonne of glass to be rejected and put into landfill," Cr Gross said.

Cr Gross said commonly misunderstood items put in recycling bins included:

" Plastic bags and expanded polystyrene - such as that which encases a new fridge or television;

" Plastic film/wrapping (cling wrap, chip and biscuit packaging);

" Batteries and ceramics;

" Window glass;

" Waxed cardboard boxes and food scraps;

" Garden waste;

" Pyrex and drinking glasses;

" Sand, rubble and syringes.

** The Australian Standard is AS4123.7-2006. Part 7: Colours, markings and designation requirements relating to bin lids and colours.

The National Packaging Covenant (Covenant) is a unique initiative between government and industry, to stop packaging waste ending up in landfill. Working together with Australian brand owners and the packaging supply chain the Covenant scrutinises better ways to recycle, reuse, recover and re-design packaging so it is sustainable.

Cr Gross says information about which bin to stick it in is available at  or 1300 733 712 National Recycling Hotline.

Source:National Packaging Covenant

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