Life can get in the way of successful recycling – time pressures, confusion over what can be recycled, or family resistance. The reality is that for recycling to work well, it will take a little bit of effort. If your home needs a reset, here are some ways to make sure your recycling efforts don’t get side-tracked.
Different councils around the country have varying requirements for what can go into kerbside recycling. To make things simple, the general rule is ‘empty and clean’. Anything you put in your recycling bin should have no food waste or residues that could contaminate the recycling processes.
Putting one item in your bin that is non-recyclable can mean that the whole load goes to landfill… so it can be hard to know what to put in. Here’s a general guide but check with your local council as every region differs.
Mitre 10 stores accept polystyrene packaging, lightbulbs and plastic ID5 plant pots and labels.
Supermarkets often take soft plastics or ask your local council about a community recycling centre to drop off unwanted items. They usually accept items like furniture, large appliances and household bric-a-brac and some have stores where they will sell anything usable.
Need a community group or school fundraising idea? Try a market swap day where families donate clothes, books and household items to be sold or auctioned, or hold a garage sale in your community. Remember, ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure’.
Habits become routine quickly. Set up space in your home for recycling such as the garage, kitchen, laundry Label containers for each type of recycling – a bucket for your kerbside recycling, a compost bucket with a lid, a large canvas bag for soft plastics and a small crate for plant pots. Keep a box in the car for items that can be recycled at Mitre 10 stores and supermarkets. The easier you can make it to sort your recycling, the more likely you are to stick with it.
This can be the hardest part! If you have children, turn it into a game or sticker chart opportunity, or incentivise teenagers by making recycling part of pocket money chores. If you have a reluctant partner or flatmate, make it as easy as possible. Try one element at a time to change behaviours gradually. For example, for the first month, focus on rinsing kerbside recycling properly. Once that’s become a habit, add a soft plastics basket or bag to the kitchen. You’ve got this!