How to recycle?
These are the most commonly found materials in most kitchens:
- aluminium cans, foil and trays & tin (steel) cans (and other objects like old pots)
- plastic bottles, bags and containers,
- glass bottles and jars,
- cardboard, clean paper (mushroom bags, newspaper, magazines)
- food scraps and
- dirty paper (hand towels, serviettes, baking paper)
All of these can be diverted from landfill. The only thing that needs to be in your rubbish bin is non-recyclable materials and hazardous waste.
Each material needs to be treated slightly differently but most things just need a quick WASH & SQUASH.
Here’s a simple list of how to recycle materials commonly found in kitchens:
- Plastic Bottles, Bags and Containers (check what's accepted in your area): wash or rinse out after you empty them. Squash them if you can so they take up less room in the bin. Check if you need any for storing leftover kai.
- Steel (tin) Cans: wash or rinse out after you empty them then squash them on the edge of the bench or get your shoes on and squash them, or use the can opener to take both ends off and squash. If you want these can also be re-used for steamed puddings or candle-making!
- Aluminium Cans: rinse out and squash aluminium cans flat so that they take up less room and put them in the recycling bin. These can also be sold at your local scrap metal dealer
- Glass Bottles and jars: rinse or wash out and place in your recycling bins. Don't break them or they are unsafe for handling and sorting. No plate glass or arcoroc glass dishes
- Dirty Paper: place in separate bin and then use as needed in your compost heap.
- Clean Paper: recycle or reuse for kids drawings
- Clean Cardboard: remove the tape or large staples holding the box together and flatten it for recycling or just jump on it until it's all flat. Otherwise keep it as a box and use it again
- Food Scraps: find some chooks, pigs, cats, dogs, tuna or even cows to feed your food scraps to - but make sure you know what's safe to feed them eg. no raw meat for pigs. Ensure all plastic and non-food items are kept out of the food buckets. Shells and bones can be crushed and composted.
Non-recyclable materials, hazardous waste & odd objects
Objects like tetrapaks and foil paper cannot be recycled as they have multiple components that are expensive to separate. These need to go in the bin unless you can find another use for them such as tetrapak plant pots. Depending on what is collected in your area some plastics will need to go to landfill. Alternatively wash them and use again or find someone who is traveling and can take them to another region where they can be recycled.
Hazardous waste such as paint, batteries and machine oil can be taken to most transfer stations for safe disposal. Ask the attendant for help or call your local council for advice.
Sometimes you will have odd objects like broken plates and cups. If they are pottery they can be smashed and used for art or buried. If it's heat-treated glass like arcoroc, wrap it in paper and put in the rubbish. Some metal objects like old freezers can be scrapped or reused creatively for things like compost bins. Old cloths and tea towels can be used as rags or chopped up and composted or buried. Always ask yourself: how can I find a better home for this than landfill?