More than likely (unless you are zero I mean zero waste like that girl who has a single jar of waste from a whole year! Yes wow) than you will have a rubbish bin of some sort and use it regularly.
However, (especially the older generation) what should and should not be placed inside different coloured bins is not common knowledge. Even millennials and the unintentionally non-environmentally conscious individuals may not have wanted or have been educated at school or by friends and family of the options of waste disposal.
Councils are trying their best to educate all, from children to the older generation with flyers, seminars and one of my favourite the stickers on bins with pictures and crosses and ticks. This is my favorite not only straightforward and effective and can be easy to understand for visual learners perfect for the non-English speakers. After all, we are a multi-cultural society.
So here, let me give you a brief education on waste if you don’t already know.
What can I throw out in my household bins?
Most councils have three bins, with different coloured lids making it easy to differentiate between them. Each bin has a separate list of Do’s and Don’ts however the easiest way to explain is:
- General waste (usually has a red lid): All your food scraps, tissues pretty much anything that isn’t recyclable, from your garden as long as it is not a chemical or electronic.
- Recycling (usually has a yellow lid): Anything with the symbol includes steel cans, glass bottles, plastic containers, cardboard, and paper to name a few. I should mention most councils use a co-mingled disposal where glass and cans are mixed with paper and cardboard instead of cardboard only.
- Garden and Organics (usually has a green lid): As its name suggests for leaves, twigs, cuttings, dead flowers, etc. Strictly no food scraps!
Your council will supply you with a calendar which details the day each week that your bin is collected. Also, most councils alternate the weeks where they will pick up the recycling and garden bins. The General Waste bin in most cases is collected weekly with no exception of holiday periods including Christmas!
What is not allowed in ANY household bins
The main things that are outside of the everyday household rubbish, recycling, and garden categories and are not permitted in any household bins due to the requirement for specialised waste disposal.
- E-Waste: electronics, computer parts, and batteries
- Paints, liquids and chemicals
- Construction materials such as concrete and large pieces of metals
Visit your local council website for scheduled Council pickup dates, where free of charge Council trucks pick up everything from your bikes to cupboards for free.
Also (2), most councils give you two free council pickups a year, all you need to do is book them and place a sticker on your pile of rubbish, and before you know it will be picked up for FREE!
Where does my rubbish go?
Landfill: (Red Bin)
While removing any junk, you can always call a local rubbish removal Sydney company. Transported to a local landfill. The larger councils will transport waste by rail to larger landfills which have Bioreactors. The Bioreactor breaks down rapidly to produce methane which is used to generate green energy a great form of renewable energy.
Reprocessing Facilities/Landfill (Yellow Bin)
Transported to a landfill where it sent to a reprocessing facility to be sorted. When you recycle you save landfill space and your sorted recycling materials are sent to be made into new products. A great reason to recycle.
Composting Facility (Green Bin)
Green waste is taken to a specialised composting facility to be screened for inorganic material like glass and then composted. Once the composting process has completed and most of the waste has decomposed compost can be turned into mulch either sold to the public, retailers or sold by the council!
Tips to Reuse
- Freeze foods that are left over from cooking instead of throwing them out. There are plenty of smart blogs and recipes to reduce food wastage!
- Use scraps: old bread to bread crumbs
- Use pill containers, shoe boxes and any other container you have lying around for storage.
- Use left-over newspaper, fashion tissue as wrapping paper
- Donate clothes to Op shops instead of throwing out.
Tips to Reduce Waste
- Compost: feed the worms in your garden, will help your garden grow.
- Recycle: your waste will get turned into clothing, new bottles, etc.
- Switch to online statements, save paper.
- Avoid Disposables to reusable containers for lunch.
- Repair holes in clothes or glue together ceramics or shoes.
With the ever-increasing environmental awareness throughout society, local councils are jumping on board to spread the word, and with that, they usually offer free Council seminars and courses. Courses can include sustainable living including the importance of rainwater tanks and vegetable gardens to composting systems and how to grow worm farms.
Worth a look and did I mention that it’s FREE!
What If I am a business?
You will not have regular bins, even if you do, it is strictly against the law to use them. Depending on your area and business type you may need to use a private contractor.
Businesses are required to have specialised categorised waste streams to safety based on your industry and waste.
They include (briefly):
Trade waste: this is a red bin for business, even if a business is a café, it is not to know what business-like waste will be included such as metals, crockery, etc. Those (except construction) are approved.
Recycling: for paper and cardboard only, it is scarce to find a co-mingled bin.
Medical waste: to prevent any chance of spreading any contagious or harmful diseases any rubbish/tools or gloves need to be destroyed at high temperature in a specialised facility.
Construction skips: for large pieces of metal, concrete slabs and pretty much anything construction based.
Unfortunately, in our disposable society partly due to the cheap cost of electronics and clothing makes it very attractive and too easy to throw out and replace a $10 kettle or a stretched $5 singlet from Kmart.
Apart from becoming waste aware, and helping the environment recycling and reusing can save you money even when you shop, recycled clothing and toilet paper, etc. can be cheaper.
Also, if you want to take your environmental awareness to another level you can restrict any clothes, tools, and chemicals to 100% natural and sustainable. If you are willing to dish out the cash that is.
There are plenty of resources online, in books and on TV to continue to learn about waste, where it goes and how you can play a part.
Even basic home recycling makes a significant difference, you are saving rubbish from a landfill and more than likely it will be turned into anything from new glass bottles, cans, paper, car parts and even clothes!