Recycling tips all Kiwis should embrace
The average Kiwi can generate around 160 kilograms of rubbish every year.
That means we are sending more than 640,000,000 kilograms of trash to our already-overflowing landfills annually.
Experts reckon a whopping 65 per cent of that waste could be avoided or put to better use.
‘‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’’ was a mantra instilled into us while we were at primary school.
But it seems we’ve kicked those goods habits to the kerb as we’ve grown older and ‘wiser’. These days we’re more likely to chuck everything in the bin – with no regard for how our choices today will affect our tomorrow.
It takes roughly 450 years for plastic bottles to entirely break down. Glass can hang around for a very long time; some pieces sitting pride of place in museums all around the world date back to 2000 BC. Some researchers worry that plastic shopping bags may not ever decompose.
Thankfully, recycling is enjoying a bit of a revival. Most councils offer regular recycling services, and supermarkets actively encourage consumers to buy reusable shopping bags to save on wastage. Here are a handful of handy dos and don’ts to help you recycle. 1. Do put plastic bottles and containers, egg cartons, newspapers and magazines, glass bottles and jars, aluminium cans, steel and tin cans, and empty aerosol cans into your recycling bin. 2. Don’t put plastic bags, food and garden waste, hazardous waste, batteries, nappies, polystyrene, electrical items and building waste into your recycling bin. 3. Rinse and squash all containers. 4. Make sure you know what days your recycling truck comes to town. 5. Don’t mistake the roadside for a rubbish bin. Illegal dumping of rubbish makes our streets look messy and pollutes waterways. Some councils offer annual inorganic rubbish collections. Store unwanted goods in your garage until the inorganic collection comes. Better yet, donate it to the Salvation Army or City Mission if it’s in reasonable condition – they often do pick-up too. 6. Don’t buy too much food. If you can’t eat it all, you’ll just throw it out. 7. Do turn food scraps and garden waste into compost instead of throwing them in the bin. 8. Don’t throw hazardous waste out with your regular rubbish. Find out where you can safely dispose of it by contacting your local council. Better yet, avoid it altogether by buying environmentally friendly products. 9. Don’t throw e-waste, or anything that’s electronic or has a plug, in your regular rubbish bin either. Upgrade, repair or donate broken or old electronics. Some stuff might be suitable to give away on Neighbourly. You can also dispose of it at an approved e-waste drop-off point. 10. Do upcycle. Old glass bottles and jars make lovely vases, ornaments and storage solutions. Old furniture can be repaired, repainted, refurbished and positioned pride of place in your home.
An amazing amount of rubbish in landfills around the country should have been recycled instead.