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Published May 1st 2021
How to be a recycling champion
Some of us want to do our bit in helping the environment but find it too difficult in our busy lives to put thoughts into actions. If we're not sure where an item goes, most likely it will end up in the bin, or the council recycling bin. However, there are recyclable items that cannot go into the council recycling bin such as small plastic items, or soft plastic. This is where it gets confusing to most people and the recycling stops there.
This article lists current items that can be recycled by various organisations and their drop off locations for South Australia in 2021.
The first step with contributing to recycling is to ensure with any recycling items you provide to any company, should be clean.
Most people are aware of old mobile phone and electronic recycling programs. Collections points are common and easy to find, such as your local library, Officeworks and even Bunnings.
Soft plastics jam the automated sorting machines so they need a specific recycling method. Redcycle was established to promote this all throughout Australia. Soft plastic items include plastic bags, silver-lined chip packets, and bubble wrap but not plastic biscuit trays, or empty coffee pods. Coles, Woolworths, schools and supermarkets participate in this program. Find your nearest collection point here.
Small plastic items like lids are harder to process because of their size. Lids4Kids Australia used to collect plastic lids from milk and drink bottles for a Melbourne-based company, Envision who then turns them into artificial limbs for children. Envision appealed for 1 million lids but actually collected a total of 15 million lids Australia-wide due to overwhelming community support. Due to exceeded expectations and also COVID-19, they have stopped collecting plastic lids. Lids4Kids is currently looking for other local companies to work out the next best solution, so stay tuned on their South Australia Facebook page.
In the meantime, you can still drop off plastic lids to YCA Recycling, a paper, cardboard, plastic and scrap metal recycling company who are open to the public. The downside is that there is only one drop off location at their centre in Wingfield. The upside is that not only they recycle all plastic lids, including bigger sized plastic lids that Lids4Kids don't accept such as laundry plastic lids, they also accept coat hangers, empty CD/DVD cases, takeaway containers, and corks. In addition, they accept bulk supplies of plastic and metalware, so you can bring all you have!
Bread tag collection for wheelchairs in South Africa is quite commonly known. There are lots of drop off points where you can find here.
TerraCycle is a global company based in the US whose goal is to recycle everything. TerraCycle has teamed up with many companies in 21 countries including Australia to promote recycling. Collection points for different products are available throughout South Australia including regional areas.
Colgate is one of their partners for recycling any brand of oral care products including toothbrushes, electric toothbrush heads (not the base), empty dental floss containers, and empty toothpaste tubes. These are collected by numerous dental centres or other locations.
Officeworks Croydon and Keswick have partnered with TerraCycle to be a collection point for pens, markers and highlighters (lids included) for recycling. Gillette has partnered to make all brands of used razors and their packaging recyclable. Schwarzkopf has joined to make all brands of used hair care, colour and aerosol packaging recyclable. Certain brands of coffee pods can also be collected through TerraCycle.
Some places accept multiple items to save you time and effort. Ecolateral in Magill accepts oral care, writing instruments and used razors. TAFE SA Gilles Plains accepts oral care, hair care and L'OR and Moccona aluminium capsules. You can look up the map of collection points here.
Some beauty brands have also joined TerraCycle to help recycle - Burt's Bees, L'Occitane, Mecca, Kiehl's and Jurlique are to name a few, however, please note some brands only take back their own products for recycling. You can look up the full list of different recycling programs here.
Lastly, Zara has launched a sustainable clothing program where all conditions of clothes of any brand can be donated. Good quality items will be donated the Caritas, Red Cross, Salvation Army or other charities. Other items can be recycled and transformed into new fabrics. At the moment, there is only one collection point at Zara Burnside. You can check out their initiative video here.
Don't forget, anything that is made out of alfoil such as chocolate Easter egg wrappers, you can put it in the aluminum can, or pack it tightly into a ball and put it in the council recycling bin when it's big enough.
If all these collection points are too much, it's easy to organise volunteers amongst your family, friends and colleagues in who will collect what for the community. I hope this article will motivate you to increase your recycling ability. I definitely believe each person's effort counts towards a more sustainable world.