Top six recycling mistakes

Living with COVID-19 restrictions has increased the use of certain items in Melbourne, like single-use masks and takeaway food packaging.

Unfortunately, some items are ending up in the wrong bin, which contaminates our recycling system and undoes the hard work of people’s recycling efforts.

The most powerful thing all of us can do to help create a cleaner, greener future is to avoid creating waste in the first place. However, if you do use an item be sure to dispose of it correctly.

Here are six things that don’t go in your recycling bin:

1. Recycling in a plastic bag

If the items you put in your recycling bin are inside a plastic bag, they will end up in landfill. Only loose items can be sorted and recycled correctly, and then turned into new products.

2. Soft plastics

Bread bags, biscuit wrappers, chip packets and other soft plastics that you can easily scrunch in your hand don’t go in your recycling bin. Take these items to REDcycle drop-off points at local supermarkets.

The great outdoors
Many Melburnians are planning more picnics, exercise sessions and get-togethers in our parks and gardens as COVID-19 restrictions ease and the weather heats up. In response, we are providing additional toilets, cleaning and increased rubbish removals. To help us keep our outdoor areas beautiful and safe for everyone to enjoy, please dispose of your waste mindfully, using the tips in this article. To find out more about what you can and can’t do in our green spaces, visit Enjoying our parks and gardens.

3. Polystyrene

If you’ve made a big purchase, flatten cardboard boxes and put them in your recycling bin. Polystyrene goes in your general waste bin as it easily breaks up into small pieces that can’t be sorted, contaminating other recyclables.

4. Clothing, shoes and other textiles

Fabric can get stuck in sorting machines, which makes it harder for other items to get recycled. Swap unwanted items of clothing with friends, donate them to charity or turn them into something new.

5. Food waste

Organic waste accounts for more than half of household waste, and it doesn’t decompose naturally in landfill. Please keep it out of your yellow-lid recycling bin. Find out how to get a discounted home composting system at Food waste.

6. Disposable face masks

Single-use face masks don’t belong in your recycling bin and should be disposed of in your general waste bin. Where possible, swap single-use masks for reusable options.

To find out more, visit Waste reduction.

You might also be interested to read How to fight the war on waste from home or follow Erin Rhoads on a sustainable shopping trip to Queen Victoria Market in Inspiration from a zero-waste expert.