Summer Reading: No wasters!

• Material Recovery Facility. Photo supplied.

by ISABELLE GAGNON, chair of the Waste Recycling Education Network

WASTE and how we deal with it is currently a big conversation starter. 

The award-winning ABC series War on Waste highlighted the environmental challenges our communities have ahead of us. 

The recent plastic bag ban and the annual ‘Plastic Free July Challenge’ have been starters for some of us to personally deal with our waste.

If we look carefully at our buying habits and each take simple steps, we can collectively make a real impact at reducing the amount of waste we generate. 

When it comes to waste management, the most effective and cheapest way for us all to deal with waste is to avoid generating it in the first place.

Choose products that are well made and built to last many years.

Choose a reusable product instead of a disposable one such as beeswax covers rather than plastic cling film to cover left-over food, reusable coffee cups, water bottles and produce bags for fruits and vegetables at the supermarket.

Give serious thought to repairing products when they no longer work (if it is safe to do so). 

Think about purchasing second-hand rather than new, thereby valuing our limited resources, and finally, choose to refuse products that are not really necessary or can be replaced by reusable options.

Doing so, we will put into practise the first two R`s of the waste hierarchy: Refuse and Reduce.

However, no matter how much we try to reduce our waste, reality is we still have to recycle some of it.

We can all help by making sure that anything that can be recycled is put into that yellow-topped bin. 

While it can be a bit confusing, here are some tips to help you recycle better.

• Avoid purchasing products with multiple packaging layers, individually wrapped or single-serve items as many plastic packaging types can’t be easily recycled.

• Place your items loosely into the yellow topped bin, not tied up in a plastic bag.

• Make sure items placed into your bin for recycling are clean, dry and empty with lids removed.

• Disposable nappies go in the general waste bin only, not the recycling bin.

• Make sure the lid on your bins shut properly to avoid littering due to birds or wind.

• Soft plastics and polystyrene such as meat trays cannot be recycled via the kerbside system, they go in your rubbish bin.

• Aerosols need to be dropped at a household hazardous waste facility.

If you have any queries visit the Recycle Right website where you can find lots of information, including how to book a tour to see what happens to your waste at the Regional Resource Recovery Centre in Canning Vale.

We guarantee you’ll be impressed and see waste in a whole new way!

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