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  • Charlie Sykes


Figuring out which household bin items can be placed into recycling is an issue that gets us all scratching our heads every now and then. Are lids for glass jars recyclable too? Which soft plastics can be recyclable? Can that tray you bought from Woolworths with mince meat on it go in the yellow bin?

Have no fear! This week a new nationally consistent packaging label has recently been developed by the Federal Government to make life easier for us environmentally conscious consumers.

When purchasing supermarket products, a significant amount of materials are not reusable and are discarded straight to landfill. This is an issue that manufacturers must address, and with the help of this new label system, this may be easier now. The famous recycling symbol that was created in 1988 by Gary Anderson, is internationally recognised, but previously has been placed on items that can't strictly be recycled.

So what's changed? Previously recycling products were labelled from 1 - 7 on their ability to be recycled with the recycling symbol next to each number. Often items with numbers 4 upwards can't be recycled. Therefore finally new, easily understood symbols are being introduced on all packaging.

Below outline these new packaging symbols, there are very simple options - recycle or send to landfill!

Woolworths products with the labels are already being phased in. Using a ready meal as an example for how the labels work: the plastic film will be labelled as trash to the bin, the cardboard collar will be indicated to be recycled, and the plastic tray will be labelled as recyclable.

A definite step in the right direction in terms of reducing contamination, but will the new label system reduce which non-reusable items are purchased?

New labels will help in addressing which materials are of recycled content, and which materials are unnecessary and problematic. As more of the population is educated in which materials can be recycled and those that can't, awareness in which items have been manufactured from reusable and recycled materials will increase too.

In this light, the Federal Government is committed to making 100% of packaging for products reusable by 2025. This is a noble goal in our line of sight!!

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