Have you 'bin' recycling properly

3 October 2018 - Media release

Campaspe Shire Council and JustWaste Consulting recently completed an investigation to see what residents and businesses are putting into their yellow lid recycling bin and the results are in.

Mayor Cr Adrian Weston said the investigation provided insight into what residents are putting in their recycling bins and how much of that is in fact not recyclable.

“The purpose of the investigation was to gain an understanding of the composition of recycling bin contents and identify the differences between residential and commercial properties,” Cr Weston said.

580 residential bins were investigated from the urban areas of Echuca, Wyuna and Rochester, along with 40 commercial bins from Echuca’s central business district. A total of 5.9 tonnes (73,743 litres) of material was collected and checked.

Some of the findings of contents within the yellow lid recycle bins are as follows:

  • Contents (by weight) of the average recycle bin is 86.10% recyclable material, 11.40% general waste and 2.60% compostable.
  • The dominant material was paper and cardboard, making up 41.12% of the total sample by weight, followed by glass bottles (31.78%) and plastic containers and bottles (9.16%).
  • 13.94% of the material should not have been put into the yellow lid bins, which is almost one sixth of the total amount. This affects the quality and decreases the value of the end result. These statistics suggest that some of the community is unsure of what they can, and what they can’t, put into their yellow lid bin.
  • A 13.94% contamination (non-recyclable material) rate puts added financial pressures on council’s waste contractor due to additional sorting, machine blockages/breakdowns and the requirement for contaminated products to be sent to landfill after sorting. This cost is ultimately worn by ratepayers.
  • The four main contamination categories, by weight, are food and garden organics at 2.56%, clothing and footwear at 2.10%, building materials at 1.96% and bagged recyclables at 1.74%.
  • Other significant contamination items included soft and hard toys (0.99%), electronic waste (0.54%) and plastic bags and film (0.54%). Whilst these items can be recycled, they need to go through a waste transfer station, not through the kerbside recycling bin. Soft and hard toys cannot be recycled at the transfer station, but they can be taken to opportunity shops if in good condition. Plastic bags and film are only recovered at Echuca and Mt Scobie transfer stations, otherwise can be taken to a REDcycle collection bin located at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets. Nappies represented 0.26% of recycling contamination. Nappies are a significant contamination item and must be placed in the red lid bin and cannot be recycled.

“By knowing what common mistakes are being made, council is able to develop an effective education program to help everyone know what can, and what can’t, go into their yellow lid bin,” Cr Weston said.

All kerbside recyclables collected through the yellow lid bins are taken to the Materials Recovery Facility in Echuca for sorting and processing.

“If you are unsure about what goes into your recycle bin, I’d encourage you to contact council for a tour of the MRF or view a handy A-Z guide of recycling on council’s website,” Cr Weston said.