By Scottie Paterson, Communications Officer, Cairns Regional Council Water and Waste Department
Hi everyone. I've been given the great honour of being able to share Council's own tips and tricks for Reducing Waste, Reusing items as much as possible and making sure we Recycle right through this fantastic newsletter.
I thought I could kick off the next few entries by sharing some tips for better recycling. Many of you had the opportunity to join me for our recent tour of the CRC Materials Recovery Facility. Located in Portsmith, the MRF receives more than 15,000 tonnes of comingled kerbside recycling each year and through a process of hand and mechanical sorting, bales of recyclable materials are packed and transported for re-processing by southern contractors.
Most of us have a great understanding of the four main categories of acceptable recyclable items, that our hard working MRF staff bale each day. These items include paper/cardboard, plastics containers, aluminium and steel cans and glass bottles and jars.
However, there are a number of items that make a frequent appearance at the MRF that just don’t belong in the yellow top bins at all.
Let’s count down the MRF staff top three picks for incorrectly placed items:
#3 - Disposable Coffee cups:
We’ve heard a lot about the bonded polyethylene liner used to waterproof paper cups, making them unrecyclable through conventional processes. This is still the reason why so many of these cups are sent to landfill each and every day, but many are finding their way into recycling bins in Cairns.
Though there is an increasing number of ‘hybrid material’ coffee cup variants, paper-based, ‘compostable’ and ‘bio degradable’ options, we must remember that the bulk of all these cups aren’t clearly labelled, or easily distinguishable when being processed en masse alongside the greater number of standard unrecyclable coffee cups. Compostable cardboard doesn’t belong with recyclable material and bio-degradable plastics are best avoided all together. Let’s refuse disposable coffee cups, keep the used ones out of our recycling bins, and take ‘BYO cups’ to our favourite Cairns cafés (many local businesses offer discounts for these Waste Reduction efforts https://www.responsiblecafes.org/#home-section).
Simple steps, great result!
Next issue we’ll be tackling item number 2 on the list.
Have a great day.