recycle right on garden gurus tv 2015

You can also watch our segments from Greenfingers TV 2014 and 2013

The Yellow Bin

Ok, how many of you really know what this yellow bin is for? Yeah, you’ve probably got an idea it’s used for recycling, but the story gets a bit more interesting than that. Just because something goes in here, doesn’t magically mean it’s going to be reused or recycled. So much of this story, horror or heroics, depends on you and what you decide to put in that bin, so let’s take the journey and see what we can do to lift the success of the yellow top bin to Recycle Right.

Firstly, this bin is a catch-all for an incredibly diverse array of stuff and once it all comes here to make Mount Trash, that’s when its real journey of truth begins. It’s here through the complex bowels of this amazing recycling plant it will hopefully be separated into a suite of recyclable products that can be neatly bundled and exported around the world to make new products. You can make this a journey of success and reuse if you follow a couple of points. Firstly, please don’t do this! – doesn’t matter how neat and well-ordered your recycled items are, if they’re in a tied up bag they can’t be sorted, they end up as trash, so please no bags. Secondly, just because something is recyclable doesn’t mean it will be recycled if you put it in the yellow top bin. Remember the stuff in that bin goes to a big, crude sifting plant it can’t deal with complex and bulky items. So if you have things like old phones, electrical goods… yes definitely, they can be recycled, but they need to go to an e-waste company or collection point.

Thirdly, and here’s some good news – in some regions now, you don’t even need to worry about the numbers on your plastic. It can all go in the yellow top bin. Just refer to the Recycle Right website to see if that applies to you.

Fourthly, your yellow top bin is a hungry beast and it probably needs to go on a diet, so you can do the whole system a favour and avoid waste in the first place. You can seek out products with less packaging, grow more food, use less bags. There are many, many ways that you can slash your waste. So just check out the recycle right website for more ideas.

It is a real good news story on how mountains of inconceivably smelly trash can somehow end up as either amazing compost, or neat and valuable bales of reusable products. If you are stuck for a unique and wild experience, why not come and visit this amazing facility for a tour. I guarantee it’ll blow you away and it might even change your life.

Verging on Disaster
How sad it is to see Mt Trash on the verge! Everywhere our insatiable appetite for the shiny and new leads us to toss the old and outdated, ready for the ‘trash fairies’ to take it away. But we need to be clear: when it is on the verge it will be scooped up and dumped in a great big hole! No reuse or recycling, just tragic waste and pollution.

  • So why not put your verge throw out onto a crash diet and start by seeing what your local charity can take as long as it’s in good working order, they can usually find a home for it. E-waste such as TVs, phones and computers can now be recycled through groups like Total Green Recycling. Check with your council or the Recycle Right website for details.
  • One of my absolute favorite ways to vanquish the verge pile up, make some cash, meet new friends and get involved in a program that is literally taking Australia by storm is to sign up for the Garage Sale Trail.
  • In its fifth year, this amazing program has saved over 1 million items from landfill, raised over $1Million for charity, $3million in sales and helped over 800,000 get good and neighbourly. Not surprising that it is a big hit with the WA Waste Authority who took the bold step to support this award-winning program.
  • The program has been so popular in Perth as people just seem to be captivated by the creativity, the fun and the community engagement the program offers. It has nearly half of WA councils involved and many have huge interest amongst their ratepayers.
  • It has an amazing momentum and a great way to get important waste messages out there in the community. It is free to buyers and sellers and anyone can get involved from households, to mens sheds, schools and charities all taking part in selling all sorts of things.
  • The Garage Sale Trail will be happening on the 24th of October this year but it will be on again this time next year so check out their website.

Garage Sale Trail

The Dirty Dozen

Believe it or not even in the world of waste, not all trash was created equal. When it comes to the rubbish we throw out, there is some stuff that really is public enemy number one. This stuff can clog machines, leak toxins, explode or even contaminate perfectly good recyclables rendering them useless.

  • We call them the dirty dozen, we all have them and if we can just make better choices with what we do with these nasties, we can make a huge difference to our recycling and waste streams.
  • The first on the list is our dear old videotapes and they really are a curse as no one wants them anymore and when they break, the film wraps around the machines clogging them and slowing the waste stream. So sadly they must go onto the verge for bulk rubbish collection.
  • The same goes for eclectic things like toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes which cause big problems when mixed in recycling bins and so are best put in the green top bin where they can be screened out to go to landfill. Beanbags cause havoc with the machinery so they must go on the verge.
  • Those in the Dirty Dozen that are toxic and can pollute our groundwater like paint, batteries and chemicals must not go anywhere near your bins. You will need to take them to the special household hazard waste section at your tip where they will be properly and safely disposed of. Fuel cans, gas bottles and fire extinguishers can explode so never place them in either of your bins, instead take them to your household hazardous waste section of your tip.
  • The endless stream of broken and worn out kitchen items can be a real handful as some of them can clog the recycling plant equipment. They should be kept back and put outside on your verge junk collection.
  • Finally, we have the dirty nappy and please do not ever put these in the yellow top bin, only green bins. One of these stinky monsters can contaminate a whole shipping container of paper that was ready for export.
  • At the end of the day, we all have a choice to consign otherwise re-useable material to the great hole in the ground or to think before we ditch and recycle right.
  • There are heaps of tips on the Recycle Right website and you can download the free app to make sure you make the right decisions with what to do with your waste. In the end it is up you.

Disposable Nappies - Waste Management

Here is an environmental riddle for you: what is seen as soft, hugging and seen as indispensible to the modern family but is also one of the great scourges of our time that can foul water supplies, bulge our bins and render our recycling efforts a failure? You guessed it, the humble nappy!

  • A nappy, thrown into your yellow top bin can contaminate a beautiful bale of recyclable paper, making it a worthless and it will take between 300 and 500 years to break down!
  • But if you remember that not that long ago, all of us grew up with cloth nappies and perhaps it is time to rediscover the arcane world of reusable nappies.
  • Oliver and his waste education guru and all-round supermum Taryn Davis has made the commitment to have a disposable-free baby. She has had a great experience ten months into the challenge.
  • She found that washing cloth nappies in cold water, using eco-friendly laundry detergents, skipping the fabric softener and drying them on the line has had a big positive impact on the environment over disposables.
  • There are also some cool companies that can provide a nappy cleaning service by looking online.
  • She has also found that they have saved a whole heap of money with cloth nappies, perhaps as much as $1,000s per year!
  • By embracing the lost art of cloth nappies, you can save a whole heap of money, make a positive environmental impact and rediscover a great tradition.


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