Rubbish tour

THE sheer scale of the Canning Vale recycling plant is mind blowing–every year it processes rubbish from more than 60,000 homes and diverts 75,000 tonnes from landfill.

It’s well worth a tour as you watch massive, high-tech machinery sort rubbish at breakneck speed.

Aluminium cans rattle on conveyor belts and an electronic eye magically sorts hard plastics–much of it destined to become garden furniture.

Giant machines separate cardboard, paper, glossy magazines and glass, and organic waste is “cooked” in massive, rotating pipes so it can be used in potting mix.

The joint-council plant opened in 2001, but things have become complicated in recent years with China no longer taking our rubbish.

Soft plastic (anything scrunchable) no longer goes in the yellow-top bin and shouldn’t really go in the green-top one.

“Everything can be recycled, but from an economic point of view only some things are, so unless there’s a market you can’t recycle,” says Doug Thompson, chair of the South Metropolitan Regional Recovery Council.

Soft plastics can be taken to Woolworths and Coles. Hazardous waste like aerosol cans and cockroach baits should be taken to Cockburn’s Henderson tip for free disposal.

Batteries, e-waste, paint and motor oil, gas bottles and mattresses can be dropped off at Fremantle council’s Montreal Street depot, which also has a shop.

Life should be less confusing when the red-top bins, trialled in Melville, are introduced later this year, Cr Thompson says.

Dubbed FOGO (food organics, garden organics), all food and garden waste will go in the lime green-top bin.

The red-top bin will be for general household waste, while the yellow-top bin will remain for recyclable rubbish.

Still confused? Go on a free tour of the Canning Vale recycling plant–there’s so much more to rubbish than throwing it in the bin.    

By JENNY D’ANGER

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