Waste as a Resource workshop in Gloucester

Which bin is for what: Gloucester residents learn what are the right things to go in the different bins on offer to help with better recycling.
Which bin is for what: Gloucester residents learn what are the right things to go in the different bins on offer to help with better recycling.

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Learning how to avoid contaminating the recycling was one of the key messages from the Waste as a Resource workshop held on Wednesday, May 24 at the Gloucester council building.

Waste conscious residents took advantage of the free workshop, initiated from the Sustainable Futures Convention and presented by Midcoast Waste Services, which explained the ins and outs of recycling.

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Waste education officer from JR Richards and Sons, Megan Griffiths presented the group with valuable information about how to avoid putting things in the bin that will cause the whole batch to be contaminated or things that can get caught in the machines.

“It’s about what can go in the recycling bin and what to do with the things can’t,” Megan explained.

She asked the group to consider what is involved in the creation of the products they purchase; the energy required, the waste left over and the resources that need to be mined from the ground.

It’s all part of getting people to think about how much waste they are producing and how they can do their part to reduce it.

Things like; buying only the food they need to avoid wastage, or if there is unused food, to look at returning it to the earth through composting. Also, understanding the packing products come in and trying to only purchase ones that can be recycled.

Some of the questions answered were around lids and which can be recycled; no plastic lids, however some metal lids can be and it was recommended that sharp ones and little ones get put into a tin and squashed closed. Another question was about whether to wash or not to wash.

“You need to make sure things are empty with minimal residue,” Megan answered.

A couple of myths where busted: aerosol cans can be recycled, even the ones with paint, as long as they are empty and only rigid plastic can be recycle via the pick up. All soft plastic, meaning anything that can be easily scrunched up into a ball, needs to go to a Redcycle centre.

The REDcycle Program is a voluntary, industry-led initiative developed by Melbourne-based organisation called the RED Group. They’ve teamed up with Coles, Woolworths and some of Australia’s brand names to reduce the amount of plastic packaging going to landfill.

A spokesperson for the RED Group said they hope to have a REDcycle bin in every Coles and Woolworths store eventually.

Although there isn’t a drop off in the region, a spokesperson for Woolworth said they’re always looking to expand the REDcycle program to more Woolworths stores across the country, however certain stores in some regional areas do not currently fall within the REDcycle collection network.  

“We continue to be measured in our approach to expansion alongside REDcycle to ensure the program can continue to thrive and we are better able to meet our environmental and customer commitments,” Woolworths said.

To find out what can go in the yellow bin, visit midcoastwaste.com.au/recycling-information/

For information about what can be Redcycled and where it can be dropped, visit www.redcycle.net.au/