Happy Thursday everyone!
This week’s waste topic: PLASTICS!
There is an astonishing 9.2 billon tonnes of plastic currently around us in the world. 6.9 billon of this has become waste and of that waste only a mind blowing 600 million tonnes is recycled (8.7%)! In fact nearly one million plastic bottles are sold every minute globally! The Philippines is the third largest contributor to ocean plastic in the world - people
attempt to sort the piles of plastic (image above)!!
The huge amounts of plastics being used around the world each day results in our environment becoming embedded in plastics. For animals around the world, they are now eating plastic because they think it is food. These hyenas in Ethiopia, (image at bottom), listen for the waste trucks each morning and find most of their food in the garbage. Animals have found to love eating plastic food wrappers because it smells like food and they end up with straws and other plastic materials in their systems. Whilst this may not be occurring in Australia necessarily, it is a sad reality for many countries around the world.
In SA we rely on the ResourceCo Recycling Centre which turns all general waste into alternate fuels. Currently in South Australia we approximately recycle up to 70% of our waste. The ResourceCo Recycling Centre actually burns plastics and other matter that would typically be sent to landfill and turns it into alternate fuels. These alternate fuels are
then able to be used in materials including building materials such as cement.
For more information check out National Geographic's latest article here.
What plastics can go in our recycling bins?
Hard plastics can go in our recycling bins, it is the soft plastics that cause issues. The following examples
go into our recycling or co-mingled bins:
Plastic containers (eg margarine and yoghurt containers, take away containers)
Most of your bathroom products (eg shampoo bottles, moisturiser bottles)
Deodorant aerosol cans and bottles
Drink containers (juice containers, soft drink containers)
Plastic fruit punnets
**handy tip** always check unusual items to see if they have a recycling logo on them,
if they do put it in that yellow bin!
Common misconceptions of plastic:
Plastic bags – these are not recyclable and cannot be placed in a recycling bin.
Cling wrap – soft plastic and cannot be recycled
Food packaging (eg muesli bar wrappers, chip bags)
Meat food trays – often contaminated with food and Styrofoam
**hot tip** – try reusing the plastic vege bags you use at the supermarket. Rather than putting them into the bin, place some of the small ones into your carry bag and continuously recycle them! Where you forget, think of the hyenas!