Recycling Guide: Where And What To Recycle - Ecobuy

What is it really? Does it actually matter if I put the plastics in the plastic bin and paper in the paper bins, or does it all just end up in the same pile of garbage? YES! Don’t be fooled, it matters. But it also matters that we understand how to recycle properly, and what to recycle. And that is why we provide you with this recycling guide.

According to the ‘National Waste Report’, as a nation Australia produces an average of 64 MILLION tons of waste PER YEAR.


So much of this is simple household waste like plastic packaging and food waste. Things that seem so avoidable or in the very least, seemingly easy to reduce.
If you are finding it hard to comprehend the magnitude of 64 million tons of waste, just think of the massive garbage trucks that you see driving around on your way to work most mornings, say it weighs 11 tons, divide that by 64 million and suddenly you’re driving past, a MINIMUM of 5 million 800 thousand massive garbage trucks on your way to work.

Further to this, globally there has been over 10 million tons of plastic tossed into our oceans THIS YEAR alone. It might not feel like much is happening when you go to the beach and the sea looks clean and pristine, but what lies underearth is a serious issue we need to take control of. Nemo is stressed, let’s help him.

So we’ve discussed some scary facts. Now let’s dive into this recycling guide and see what solutions we have.

Where to recycle soft plastics

Many companies these days are putting in place solutions and giving consumers options to reduce and/or recycle our plastics in an environmentally sustainable way. Coles is a major supermarket chain which has created and proudly promotes their REDcycle campaign, aimed at soft plastic recycling. The initiative was launched in 2011 and allows consumers to recycle plastic bags, fresh fruit and vegetable bags and wrappers, bread bags, cereal box liners, biscuit wrappers, confectionery packaging, rice and pasta packets and frozen food bags.

recycling guide
Since its take off, the REDcycle campaign has diverted more than 715 million pieces of flexible plastic from landfill across Australia. This is an incredible effort. If you want to utilise their recycling, there are specially marked bins located at the front of Coles supermarkets. If you notice that your local Coles doesn’t have one, please be that person to call or email and make sure they get one there. We love a good hearted pest who inflicts positive change.

Help reduce food waste

Second point of this recycling guide: reducing food waste. Coles is not the only major chain to be initiating change. Woolworths is also doing amazing things for our environment and limiting waste products. In the last 12 months alone, just one of Woolworths’ ‘Reducing Food Waste’ initiatives has diverted over 33 thousand tons of food waste from landfill and been taken to their food relief partners. Currently with over 600 farmers or community groups involved, they donate their surplus of edible food to charities who feed people in need. Also giving excess fruits and vegetables, produce off-cuts, and excess bakery items to farmers and community groups for animal feed or composting.

But they’re always looking for more groups and people to get involved and help keep all this food waste at a minimum. So if this sounds like a movement you could take advantage of, head to their website and you can apply in minutes and to be part of the program is totally FREE.

Where is best to recycle your plastic cans and bottles

How amazed would you be to walk down the street and not see a single plastic bottle? That shouldn’t be amazing, that should be normal. Did you know.. that recycling one plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes? Me neither. Crazy. Let’s do it.

I’d say most of us know about the yellow bin, and generic home recycling. However, I think collectively we can all step it up a notch and take control of managing our plastic waste.

Have you heard of Return and Earn? If you’re in NSW then listen up, because Return and Earn is a fantastic NSW government initiative designed to encourage us all to recycle correctly and
earn some money while we’re doing it.

Return and Earn

So how does it work? Step one is to collect eligible bottles and cans. Accepted bottles and cans include, soft drink cans, beer bottles, cartons, juice boxes or poppers. You will also need to ensure that it is in good condition, be empty and have the label attached. Things that are not accepted and will need to go into your home recycling include milk containers, glass wine bottles, glass spirit bottles, juice bottles over 1L and cordial bottles.

Step 2 is to take all your bottles and cans to a return point. With over 600 Return and Earnpoints across NSW I’m pretty confident there should be one near you.

Step 3 and lastly, all you need to do is collect your refund! Every return is worth 10 cents, and if you add that up over time you’ll have quickly bought yourself lunch with recycled plastic bottles. Well done. The vending machines offer you cash vouchers, electronic payments via their speciality app or you are given the option to donate. Whichever option you pick, you’re a gem in my eyes.

Where to take your old phones and batteries

Next important point of this recycling guide: technology. If someone asked you what to do with your old phones and batteries, what would you tell them? Some alarming facts are that less than 3% of Australia’s batteries are being recycled, comparing that to Switzerland’s incredible 72%, we need to encourage each other to be aware and do better.

So why is it so important to recycle phones and batteries? Simply put, rechargeable or non rechargeable batteries (including batteries in laptops, mobile phones, power tools and cameras), are highly hazardous, containing toxic chemicals like cadmium, lead, lithium or sulfuric acid. They not only have the potential to spark and start fires in regular garbage trucks or regular recycling facilities, but when they end up in landfill, pollutants like these leak into the environment and easily contaminate groundwater, damage fragile ecosystems and eventually have the potential to make their way into the food chain.

E-waste recycling

There are plenty of options available to make these changes super easy for us consumers. MobileMuster is a well-known e-waste recycling facility with over 3500 major drop off points around Australia. They’re located in all major phone retailers such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Samsung stores. You can also post them in for free by picking up a reply paid satchel in select AustPost stores. Alternatively to this, some councils offer collection points at your local library so call before heading in to these stores to make sure they are a participating location.

recycling guide

Aldi, Battery World and Office works are also available to you as drop off points. Taking both rechargeable and non rechargeable batteries. Big brand Ikea runs it’s own recycling service where you can also take back their used cardboard and light globes. They’ll also take your old mattresses if you’re buying a new one from them. Light globes can also properly be disposed of by council programs all around Australia. Again libraries are often collection points but it’s recommended you call ahead to confirm their participation in these programs.

Recycling your old batteries is not the only way to help our planet and reduce e-waste. However, around 70% of batteries sold each year are single use. Making the switch to rechargeable batteries allows you hundreds of charges in one. It’ll not only save you money, but will reduce greenhouse gasses, reduce the use of finite gasses and divert landfill resulting in less soil and groundwater contamination.

How to contribute less to using plastic packaging

The last option I want to discuss in this recycling guide is for reducing waste and recycling around your home. Places such as Naked food and Sourced foods. Wholesale like stores where you can buy ingredients such as rice, flours, nuts etc, without plastic packaging. Instore they usually have brown paper bags you can use, but if you want to level up and impress the store clerk even more, take your own glass jars and refill them.

Naked foods will give you a 5% discount on your items if you take your own containers. And Sourced foods give you in-store points every time you go and reward you with money off your future purchases. Any of these types of stores have weighing systems in place. That allow you to weigh your glass jars or containers before filling them. That means you don’t need to worry about then having to pay extra for the weight of the jar. I personally keep and use old coffee jars to take and refill with other ingredients from these stores. Not only does it look amazing in the cupboard, but you are finding fun a way to make use of your old coffee jars, pasta sauce jars, salsa and dip jars etc.

Where there is a will, there’s a way. Together we can all take these small steps described in this recycling guide to help reduce our waste as a country and make this a healthier planet. Not only for future generations but for all of us living now.

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