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Serious recycling tips for the silly season

We know that there’s a bigger job to be done with recycling and our plastic waste, not only in New Zealand, but globally as well.

According to the 2020 report from WasteMINZ, 87% of plastic containers are easily recycled, however only 62% of plastic containers are placed in recycling bins.

While this is still a better number, creeping over half, there is no demand for other plastic, and that’s 2678 tonnes of plastic containers that don’t get a second life. 

The most common plastic in New Zealand is the single-use plastic drink bottle, which 188 are recycled per household every year, however 36 go to landfill because we put them in our rubbish bins, and over and above this, unfortunately single-use plastic is left to sort itself out, as it takes 450 years for single-use plastic to completely degrade.

Here are some tips for recycling this silly season:

1. Use your recycling bin. Believe it or not, but out of the 188 single-use plastic drink bottles that are recycled per household each year, 36 still go to landfill simply because they’re put in rubbish bins, not recycling bins. When celebrating amongst the festive season, make sure you’re prepared to utilise your recycling bin.

2. Don’t put your recyclables in plastic bags. Sounds simple right? You’d think so, however a lot of the “new reusable plastic” bags are being seen by Kiwis as a way to carry their recyclables too. It’s better to simply place your recyclables directly in the bin.

3. Use a SodaStream for your cocktails. Slow down on the multiple soda water bottles, one singular SodaStream bottle saves 2,190 bottles going into landfill. Every singular SodaStream bottle saves 2,190 bottles going into landfill, and one SodaStream C02 cylinder further saves our environment, making up to 60 litres of sparkling water.

4. Small things are big problems. Don’t recycle anything smaller than a credit card. That includes straws, bottle caps, plastic cutlery, you get the idea. These objects are too small to be sorted and can jam the recycling equipment. To recycle your bottle caps, keep them on the bottle.

5. Educate yourself on what can and can’t be recycled. Reminder, that pizza you had on Friday night? The box can’t be recycled when it’s been saturated in grease (no paper lining), and has some food bits on it.

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