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The Sydneysider’s Guide to Plastic Recycling

Published in category
by Aaron Fabien

Australia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with its renowned landscapes, natural wonders and exceptional coastlines. Being able to enjoy the clean sands of Bondi Beach or the stunning views of Sydney Harbour is the envy of people both near and far. 

However, it is up to all of us to keep our pristine country clean, tidy and pollution-free, both for ourselves and for the enjoyment of future generations.

Introduction to Plastic Recycling

We all leave behind a footprint, and it is inevitable that all of us, even the most conscientious, create waste and rubbish. However, we can do plenty of things to reduce our footprint the best we can. Recycling has come a long way, and while making sure our yellow-lidded recycling bin is used is fantastic, there are several other services that most Sydneysiders may not know about.

In this article, we will show you the ways we, as fellow Sydneysiders, can take care of our city and our country to keep it as the beautiful island paradise that we know and love.

Plastics Recycling with All Gone Rubbish Removals Sydney

Plastic Recycling in Sydney

Depending on where you live in Sydney, your opportunities to recycle plastic may be different. 

As one of the largest urban centres in Australia, over 5,000,000 Sydneysiders call the area of Greater Sydney home, spread out across 33 local government areas. 

Unfortunately, there is no standard guide across Sydney or Australia about what is and isn't recyclable. It is up to the services of your local council what they will and will not accept.

This makes it understandably difficult to determine if you're doing the right thing filling up our yellow bin since what a resident of Manly can recycle might be different to what a resident of Paramatta can recycle, which will likely be different again to Penrith or Cronulla. 

How to find what plastic your Sydney council accepts

Plastic recycling programs in Sydney are public, which means the NSW Government and the City of Sydney fund them. Contacting these authorities is a quick and simple way to discover what your local area will accept for recycling.

Additionally, the Australasian Recycling Label is a fantastic resource to help determine which of your recyclable goods. Simply input your local council and the item you wish to dispose of, and the website will tell you instantly whether it belongs in the recycling bin or the bin destined for landfill. The list of products you can search for covers almost everything you can think of, from soft plastics to other niche packaging.

Benefits of Plastic Recycling

Plastic recycling in Sydney helps to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfill. 

As our population grows, so does our consumption, and while it is inevitable that we will all create rubbish throughout our lives, we can each do our part to minimise our impact to the best of our ability. To keep our land and water clean and pure for ourselves, our community and future generations, we can ensure our finite resources are used as many times as possible, breaking down the materials into their components and repurposing them for new life. 

More importantly, these items will stay out of landfills and tips and, more importantly, out of our oceans and away from our marine life.

Recycling has come a long way in the last few decades, and there is relatively little now that can't be reused or recycled in some way. While most of us know that products made of aluminium, glass, paper or cardboard can be thrown straight into recycling bins (just make sure those pizza boxes are clean!), knowing which plastics can be recycled can be trickier. 

Types of Plastic and Recycling Symbols

In Australia, our commercial packaging includes instructions and guidance on if and how the packaging can be recycled. 

Most of us are more than familiar with the triangular three-arrow symbol, but there is more to it than that. Simply seeing the triangular arrow is no guarantee that the item belongs in the recycling bin. Instead, it gives us an indication of what kind of plastic the product is made from.

However, consumers are not generally expected to memorise the seven main types of plastics, so all you have to look for is the arrow symbol itself. If it is coloured in, the item can be recycled, while if it is opaque (not coloured in), it can be recycled on the condition of your council. Short instructions will be included beneath the opaque symbol to correctly recycle the item.

Regular plastic items, such as bottles, containers, tubs, trays, and lids, can all be recycled in Sydney, but if you are unsure, check with your local council authorities.

Common Plastic Recycling Mistakes

Plastic items should be sorted by type and colour before being placed in the recycling bin or taken to recycling centres, as different plastic polymers will require different treatments in order to be reused and made into something else.

Common recycling mistakes include...

Recycling dirty containers and food waste

After a delicious takeaway, it can be tempting to simply throw your used and dirty containers straight in the bin. After all, we don't wash our other rubbish. However, it is vital that all plastic containers are washed with dish soap and made free of food oils and food residue before they are popped into the bin. Food waste on the packaging risks gumming up the recycling and sorting machines, contaminating the other plastic waste, and producing a health hazard for recycling workers.

Trying to recycle takeaway coffee cups

Takeaway coffee cups can technically be recycled, but it is up to the individual waste contractor whether they will or not. Most takeaway coffee cups have a thin layer of inner plastic that makes these cups wasteful. It is always better to bring a reusable coffee cup to your local cafe for your morning brew.

Trying to recycle polystyrene

Polystyrene should never be put into your home recycling bin, and most local councils will not take it from curbside collections. However, there are specialist recycling centres that can take polystyrene and repurpose it.

Trying to recycle soft plastics

Soft plastics, such as plastic bags, food wrappers and cling film, should never be put in your home recycling bin. Though the REDcycle initiative collected soft plastics, from November 2022, they have ceased collection due to the sheer volume of soft plastics delivered. Unfortunately, this means that any plastics soft enough to scrunch up in your hand will be destined for landfill, so reducing your usage rather than recycling them is your best bet.

Where Can I Recycle My Plastics?

While many plastic items can be tossed in your residential recycling bin, some more oversized items or special plastics may not be suitable for home collection.

Around the Greater Sydney area, residents can collect their plastic items for bulk delivery and bring them to one of Sydney's many local recycling centres. Be aware, however, that recycling centres will expect you to have already divided and organised your plastic waste, as you may end up delivering different types of plastics to different areas within the recycling centre.

In Sydney, local councils offer plastic recycling collections for businesses, taking some of the hassle out of bulk plastic recycling. For larger-scale places, such as the offices, schools or universities, industrial businesses or hospitals, this can be a valuable service. Whatever your field, we are all responsible for our collective sustainability and looking after this wonderful country that we call home.

The Benefits of a Rubbish Removal Service

You might be looking at this article and thinking about your own plastic waste problem. While the odd food container or furnishing doesn't present much of a problem, you may be looking at a prospective spring clean, house move, or a general tidy up and feel the weight of trying to recycle your unwanted goods.

Dividing all these goods and sending them for appropriate disposal does take time, however, and you may find yourself overwhelmed by the prospect of dividing your plastic rubbish and where to take it. Fortunately, experts are on hand to take all the stress out of our plastic recycling. The team at All Gone Rubbish Removals is dedicated to recycling, and we take our responsibility to the environment very seriously.

With firm relationships with local recycling facilities, our team will ensure that as much of your plastic waste as possible is sent for recycling and reusing. Our experience means we know exactly where each item needs to be sent, taking your collective plastic rubbish off you in one easy service. 

Call the expert team at All Gone Rubbish Removals to clean your recyclables from your garbage. As Sydneysiders, we can all do our little bit to recycle better so that the Sydney we are leaving for future generations is cleaner, healthier and better than the one we inherited. Check our rubbish removal service in Sydney!

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