Recycling on campus and beyond

On average every year 67 tonnes of waste is created in Australia. Of that only 37 tonnes of waste is properly recycled. This statistic is due to our population not knowing how to properly recycle. If more people knew what can be recycled and how to recycle, then we would see a reduction in the amount of landfill each year. In light of National Recycling Week, which is held on the second week of November each year, I have complied three ways to better recycle and to minimise your waste.

Uni students do not always consider properly recycling for a variety of reasons. A simple way to recycle more items and the correct items is to follow packaging labels. The Australasian Recycling Labels (ARL) can be found on majority of all packaging in Australia. These labels fall under three classifications to ensure that people understand what items can be recycled within Australia. The three categories include thebBox logo which means that an item can be instantly recycled, the wrap logo which means that the item must can be conditionally recycled when extra steps are taken and the lid logo which means that the item cannot be recycled and must be thrown out. More people need to follow the ARLs on the back of packaging to minimise the amount of landfill in Australia.

Did you know that plastics and cardboard that have food residue on it cannot be recycled? Too many people try to recycle plastics and cardboard that has had food on it. For example, commonly your used coffee cup cannot be placed in the recycle bin whilst the clean lid can. I feel like this is a common misconception that all plastic and cardboard can be recycled no matter if its clean or not. In order to recycle plastics, you must clean them first and ensure that they do not have any food residue on them. If we all properly cleaned our takeaway containers for example in order to recycle them, then we could minimise landfill once again.

The best way to be more sustainable and to minimise your waste is to reduce the amount of packaging you need by using reusable containers and products. Everyone on campus should be following these four rules to increase their sustainability:

  1. Bring a reusable drink bottle to class
  2. Use a reusable coffee cup
  3. Bring reusable Tupperware to take leftovers home from campus food outlets
  4. Use reusable wraps in your dorm to minimise the amount of clingfilm and foil you use

These four sustainability rules are very easy to implement to help minimise your daily waste. Reusable products ensure that you do not have food packaging to throw out or recycle. This is the best outcome for us all.

Recycling and more sustainable living is not hard to achieve. It works when you are more mindful about the waste that you create and where that waste goes. If we all do our bit to minimise our waste and recycle where we can, then we will see a cleaner future.

Article written by Sophie Watson.