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18 September, 2020

Do's and dont's of recycling made simple

Recycling can be confusing. Which plastic containers can I recycle?

By Peter McCullagh

Should I be taking lids off bottles before putting them into the recycling bin?

Do I need to rinse out dirty bottles, jars and containers before I place them in the recycling bin?

To help residents navigate the “dos and don’ts” when it comes to their recycling bin, Cairns Regional Council have launched a new Recycle Right campaign to help “keep it simple”.

The aim of the campaign is to simplify messaging, highlight recent changes and reinforce the need to “recycle right” to reduce non-recyclable contamination.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said that disposing of waste correctly was important to ensure that materials that can be recycled did not end up in landfill.

“For many years China has been the largest importer of the world’s recycling, largely due to fairly relaxed rules about accepting incorrect items being mixed with recycled goods,” Cr Manning said.

“However, the Chinese National Sword Policy has tightened those rules significantly, creating additional challenges for the Australian recycling industry.

“It means that if we want to avoid landfill here in the Cairns region and see more of our waste materials recycled, we need to ensure there is lower contamination, which is where residents can play a vital role.”

The aim of the Recycle Right Campaign is to simplify the process for residents by focusing on six key messages:

•              Keep it simple – only recycle hard plastic bottles, steel and aluminium cans, glass bottles and jars and paper & cardboard

•              Keep out soft plastics – no plastic bags or wrapping

•              Keep out small items – nothing smaller than a credit card

•              Keep it safe – Nothing that can harm workers or damage machines

•              Keep it clean – Rinse or wipe out containers, no food scraps

•              Keep it loose – Don’t bag or box recyclables

Last year, about 10 per cent of material that ended up in the recycling bins was contamination, while more than 20 per cent of items, or around 9500 tonnes, that ended up in the waste bin was actually recyclable.

As part of the new campaign, Council has produced six, 30-second videos, which will air on local television from September 14 until January next year.

More information on Recycle Right Cairns or to watch the videos

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