Top tips for Easter recycling

Hop to your recycling bin – but don’t just throw everything in. Here’s our tips for Easter recycling and beyond.

The Easter festivities are upon us, so your house might soon be full of Easter egg wrappers and boxes, and everything in between.

But did you know a lot of that waste can go straight into your kerbside recycling bin? Here’s what can and can’t be recycled:

Easter egg foil

The best way to recycle Easter egg foil is to scrunch the foil up into a fist-sized ball before placing it in the recycling bin. This makes sure the small bits of foil don’t get lost in the recycling process.

If it’s got chocolate on it, rinse it off first and if it's still too dirty then it's better in the waste bin.

Cardboard boxes

The cardboard boxes that package the eggs, along with any other boxes, can be placed in your yellow recycle bin for recycling. Collapsing the boxes first helps leave room in your bin for more recycling.

Hot cross bun bags

There’s one question to ask when it comes to recycling plastic – ‘does it hold its shape?’ The golden rule is, if it holds its shape when crumpled then it can be placed in the recycling bin.

That means plastic bags are a no-no, as are other soft plastics like bread bags and hot cross bun bags.

So why is this all so important?

We only have one Earth

The Global Footprint Network offers the analogy that today we use resources equivalent to 1.5 planet Earths, and by the 2030s we may need the equivalent of two planet Earths to maintain this lifestyle.

While recycling is great, there’s actually something better and that’s ‘avoidance’ – the idea that you don’t buy what you don’t need. Then reduce the amount of waste, reuse what you can, and finally, recycle any remaining recyclable items. You’ll find that by only buying what you really need, you’ll save money too.

What’s the link between recycling and climate change?

When an item goes in the bin and ends up in landfill, harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released as it breaks down.

The National Waste Policy suggests that waste is responsible for greenhouse emissions equivalent to about 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, of which approximately 11 million tonnes is from landfill.

Recycling helps reduce the emissions caused by waste. But that’s not all – recycled materials can be used to create other products and we then avoid taking raw materials from the earth, such as timber and water, or having to create them from scratch using more energy and creating further emissions. In the wine industry for instance, it is cheaper to reuse glass bottles than to create new ones – saving on energy and water.

So can’t I just throw it all in the recycling – it gets sorted later on, right?

Wrong. When unnecessary waste is put in your yellow recycling bin, we end up with ‘contamination’ of the waste. This causes problems when recyclables are sorted, and also can affect the ability of the item to be processed into a new product. In fact, contaminating a few bins could mean risking an entire truckload of recyclables.

What are the yellow bin rules?

Thumbs up for…           Pizza boxes (these can also go in your green bin!), paper and cardboard, some plastics glass beer and wine bottles, milk cartons (rinsed), aluminium or steel tins, plastic water bottles (lids off), clean yoghurt containers. Give bottles, cartons, jars and tins a quick rinse first.
Thumbs down for… Plastic bags, polystyrene foam, crockery and drinking glasses, clothing or fabric, e-Waste, batteries and nappies, food waste and lawn clippings.

Feeling full of information? Here’s something to lighten the load:

If you have already eaten too many eggs, this one’s for you:

Q. How does the Easter Bunny stay fit?
A. Eggs-ercise and hare-robics!

For more Easter recycling tips visit Recycle Right website, www.RecycleRight.sa.gov.au. If you are still unsure about what goes in which bin, always check with your local council.

This story was originally posted in April 2017.

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