Re­cy­cling tips all Ki­wis should em­brace

The av­er­age Kiwi can gen­er­ate around 160 kilo­grams of rub­bish ev­ery year.

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER -

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.

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