Why would you make something that you are going to use for a few minutes out of a material that’s basically going to last forever.
Jeb Berrier, BagIt movie
The fact is the world is being covered in materials which do last forever. Many of us are rethinking our consumer habits and choosing to limit the purchasing of these products however, there are occassions where this is unavoidable. By learning about and creating positive habits around productive ways to recycle this growing pile of materials, we can all help to minimise our impact.
The 10 – 16 November is Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week . This campaign is the inspiration behind last weeks post which was full of ideas highlighting Simple Constructive ways to Recycle (quality goods) and Help Others. This weeks post is a continuation of the theme and covers a lot of information, useful links and ‘happy snaps’ to help you divide and conquer household recycling. Where to correctly place aerosols, metal items and plastic bread bags, how to stop the delivery of phone books, order Council rubbish bins and dispose of your old washing machine for free.
Our neighbours think I have well and truly lost it going to so much trouble to line up and photograph both rubbish and bins I’m sure. Actually, I quite possibly have gone mad but, that is the price you pay when you are out to make a simple story about ‘rubbish’ look interesting and colourful.
1. Yellow Recycling Bin
Yellow Recycling Bins come in two sizes 240 litre and 340 litre and are collected fortnightly. The 240 litre is the standard issue size and the 340 litre is available if you wish to ‘upsize’ – no it won’t hurt your waistline! They are suitable for firm plastic, paper (including glossy surfaces), cardboard, glass, metal and aluminium – yes this includes foil, empty aerosols and empty paint tins. Check with your local Council to confirm which numbers marked on the firm plastics can be recycled. You will find a number on the bottom of the container inside a triangle of chasing arrows. In Brisbane we can recycle all plastics numbered 1- 6, follow this link for more information. Containers don’t have to be rinsed (only to stop your bin getting smelly) but you do need to make sure you remove the lids.
You will need your Rate Account Number to order or upsize your bin online and if you organise by 12 December it will arrive before Christmas (don’t get me started on the amount of unnecessary packaging which comes with kids toys!). If you are a Tenant you will need to follow this up with your Landlord. It will cost a one off Establishment Fee which will be billed to the Rate Account.
You can also recycle phone books. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I used the phone book to find a number. To cancel your delivery of them altogether click this link .
PLASTIC BAGS ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR RECYCLING IN THESE BINS – it prevents the items from being sorted and the whole lot goes to landfill.
Recyclables which are too large for the yellow bin can be taken to your Local Transfer Stations (rubbish tips). The Willawong Resource Recovery Centre is the first centre of its kind in Brisbane (three more planned to be open by June 2016) and recyclables which are on the list of acceptable items can be disposed of free of charge. Follow this link to see a full list of what is accepted at the Centre.
2. Soft Plastics
According to the Clean up Australia Day website, Australians throw away 7,150 recyclable plastic bags a minute with 429,000 recyclable plastic supermarket bags dumped into landfill every hour. So my new commitment is, while I work at minimising the amount of soft plastic packaging our household relies on, any soft plastics we accumulate will be disposed of at the Red Group Recycling Stations at Coles. See the list displayed on the above image for items they accept. At least then the plastic will be used for a much more sustainable purpose than just adding to landfill. It is as easy as having two recycling bins at home instead of one.
Shopping Bags can also be returned to the Recycling Bins at Woolworths. Did you know that if you shop online the driver will wait for you to unpack your groceries on delivery and return the bags to the store.
According to our delivery man, with an average of 40 deliveries a day, two households might return the bags to the driver. Maybe after this article goes live that number will dramatically increase.
When it came to our turn, he even helped me unpack everything onto the kitchen table – sweet!
4. Green Waste
Green Recycling Bins are suitable for prunings, grass clippings, shrubs, weeds, leaves and loose bark. They are collected fortnightly and taken to the waste recycling facility to be composted and mulched for reuse.
Brisbane residents can request a maximum of two bins, just make sure you have room on the kerbside for when the bins goes out for collection. You will need your Rate Account Number to order one online. Again Tenants will have to organise with their Landlord. Rates Account will be billed the Establishment Fee and the quarterly charge.
Great news – Aldi has teamed up with Planet Ark and is the first supermarket in Australia to recycle all household batteries for free.
According to the Aldi website 8,000 tonnes of batteries and their toxic chemicals end up in landfill every year. Aldi has recycled 55 tonnes of batteries since its launch in October 2012.
The recycling station at our local store is positioned in the bag packing area, after you have been through the check out, just before the exit. They accept any brand of AA, AAA, C, D or 9V rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries.
6. Kerbside Collection
Delivering items which don’t fit in your Sulo bin to the rubbish tip is all well and good if you can transport them there, but what do you if you don’t have the means? Local Council runs Kerbside Collection once a year providing the perfect way to remove unwanted and oversized items from your property, without you having to transport them anywhere.
How it works is; a flyer is delivered to residents at least one week before a collection is scheduled in your area. Residents can begin to place unwanted goods out the front of their property, safely and clear of footpaths and driveways, the Sunday before the collection date. Council will not pick up items which are larger than two cubic metres (think small box trailer load) and they must be able to be safely lifted by two people.
Acceptable items for collection include furniture, fridges, ovens, carpet, lino, bath, laundry tub, wood products and bicycles – here is a link with more information about what is and is not suitable for collection.
Kerbside collection is like a onion – it has many layers.
- Firstly it removes unwanted ‘stuff’ from your home and I’m all positive about having a good old ‘sort out’.
- Secondly items get disposed of correctly by the council without you having to leave your property
- Thirdly business’ do the rounds finding items which they can reuse such as scrap metal
- Lastly and perhaps my most favourite point to make is, residents have the opportunity to cruise the streets and pick up items which they go on to reuse, rather than seeing it go onto landfill.
Between my Husband and a small group of dedicated ‘kerbside collecting’ friends I could turn this last point into a post all of its own, complete with photos of amazing restorations completed to treasures found and rescued from landfill, but I better stop here…
This link will take you to the Brisbane Council page where you can find out when they are due to do a pick up in your area.
Hopefully you have all discovered something new and most importantly helpful in all this information – I certainly did. If you know of any other opportunities for recycling please feel free to begin a conversation and share with us via the comments section or, through our Facebook Page. The more interaction this post generates the further this message will travel – and that’s a good thing right?
The purpose of writing this post is to inspire a rethink around rubbish and help promote simple, constructive actions which can be taken with all the waste we are generating. It really does take a change of mindset to create new habits and, as is the case when embarking on anything new, it just takes practice.
Gosh there is just so much to learn – this is me making a start.
P.S. So how did I do – interesting and colourful?