Soft plastics in recycling or putting recycling into a plastic bag before it goes into the bin is something any recycling fanatic knows not to do.
However, it’s still the number one issue for many councils around Australia.
Planet Ark recycling programs manager Ryan Collins said about 170 councils across the country were surveyed for National Recycling Week.
“The biggest issue for councils is soft plastics in recycling,” he said.
“At the start workers manually take out plastic bags and they don’t have time to empty bags so if it’s in a plastic bag it will end up in landfill.”
Other major issues include food organics in recycling bins which reduces the quality of the entire load which lowers the value of the recycling and, in turn, increases the cost to have it collected.
Australia is producing 64 million tonnes of waste each year with the rate of waste generation increasing at a faster rate than the population.
Last year waste production increased by 170 per cent when the population only increased by 28 per cent.
Luckily the rate of recycling is growing at a faster rate than waste generation, so while Australia is producing more waste, more of it is being recycled.
However, when it comes to buying recycled items Australia isn’t doing too well.
“If you’re not buying recycled content you're not fully closing the loop,” Mr Collins said. “We recycle a lot more paper than we actually buy back as recycled paper.”
Buying recycled items isn’t just good for the environment it’s good for domestic manufacturing jobs as the demand for those materials in Australia will increase productions.
National Recycling Week runs from November 12 to 18 with the goal of educating people on the importance of recycling.
“It’s an ever changing world and often there are new technology or systems so a lot of people find it confusing,” Mr Collins said.
“We want to improve the decisions that are made at the bin at home, the office or at school.”
To ensure you’re recycling right for your area go to the Recycling Near You website.