Put simply, recycling is contaminated when we put the wrong items in our recycling bin.
Keeping contaminants out of your bin means your recycling is easy to sort, which saves time, energy, resources, and money.
This is particularly important with recycling plastics in Tasmania.
Don’t make the mistake of ‘wish-cycling’, which is when you put items in your recycling bin hoping they can be recycled. The reality is, you could be unintentionally contaminating your bin.
Remember, it only takes a minute to check before you chuck.
We call this being a Good Sort. And it’s one of the most valuable things you can do to maximise your recycling efforts.
How to deal with the most common contaminants:
|Soft plastics, such as plastic bags and food wrappers (acts like paper in sorting machines)
||REDCycle at Coles and Woolworths
|Paper towel, tissues, or shredded paper
(sticks to other non-paper items in the bin)
|Compost or garbage
|Packing recycling into boxes or bags
(creates safety issues for sorting staff)
|Drop items loose into your recycling bin
|Items smaller than a credit card, such as plastic bread tags
(too small to separate, gets stuck among larger items and in sorting equipment)
|Non-kerbside recycling (e.g. Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs) or garbage
|Clothing, textiles, and shoes
||Donate if in good condition, use as rags, or recycle via Upparel
||Recycle at North TAS region Waste Transfer Stations, Mornington Park Waste Transfer Station, or Polyfoam.
Elsewhere, reuse or garbage
|Composite materials that are made of two or more types of recyclable content, such as blister packs
||Check if it can be recycled via TerraCycle, or garbage
It makes sense to recover as much recyclable material as possible from our homes and businesses.
However, ‘wish-cycling’ slows down the sorting process and increases the costs of our recycling efforts.
Worst of all, it often leads to otherwise recyclable material being sent directly to landfill.
In Tasmania, up to 15% of the material we put in our kerbside recycling bin ends up in landfill.
This is because either an item is not recyclable, is contaminated, or cannot be recycled via the kerbside bin service.
Taking the time to be a Good Sort really does make all the difference.