Find out how you can recycle various items in ways that help the environment and your household.
RECYCLING - HOW TO GET IT RIGHT
Recyclables from kerbside collections and transfer stations are processed right here in Victoria. And, with innovative onshore industries growing to meet consumer appetite for products made with recycled product, more than ever we need your help with recycling right.
With the recent change in recycling processors, there's a few small changes to know, to be sure you're recycling right.
Only these items belong in your kerbside recycling bin:
Paper and cardboard including pizza boxes; no waxed boxes
Aluminium and steel cans, 100% empty aerosol cans
Clean, loosely-scrunched foil over the size of a table tennis ball
Plastic bottle lids need to be removed and discarded
Plastic containers, punnets and biscuit trays
Glass bottles and jars; lids on or off is okay, as the glass typically breaks during processing anyway
Milk and juice cartons, including liquid paperboard ones
Still confused? Ask Council or put the item in your red bin. It's better not to risk contaminating recyclable materials.
Remember, no polystyrene, plastic bags or e-waste! And always put your recyclables loose in your bin (not bagged).
Other ways to do your bit for the environment
Most clean plastics you can scrunch up, such as plastic carry bags, bags used for bread, produce, cereal, biscuits, dog food, potting mix, bubble wrap, Australia Post satchels, foil-lined chip packets and much more. There are some exclusions, like cling film, vinyl packaging, coffee bags and biscuit tray-type plastics, so check out the what to REDcycle list. When you drop off your accepted soft plastics next time you shop at Coles or Woolworths, you can rest easy knowing they will be sent for specialist recycling via the REDcycle group to Replas.
As a bonus, you'll have much more space in your red bin!
Food waste makes up an astonishing 25% - 40% of many householders' garbage bins. You can reduce this by reviewing your pantry and fridge and making a list before you head to the shops. It's also worth checking out the simple, tasty and free recipes you can quickly create from the leftovers in your fridge and pantry, at Love Food Hate Waste. It's also best not to shop when you are hungry!
Subsidised composting kits
You can purchase a subsidised composting kit, thanks to a partnership between Council and social enterprise Compost Revolution. There's a choice of a traditional outdoor composter with aerating tool or a worm farm with 1,000 worms. Kits are limited to one per household and are available only whilst Council has stock. Your purchase saves an average of 60% off retail and includes online tutorials and support. Visit Compost Revolution(link is external) to find out more and to place your order.
Whilst mobiles keep us connected to the world around us, many of us also have defunct ones stashed in the back of our drawers. Mobiles contain valuable, limited and scarce resources such as coltan (tantalite), mined from pristine natural habitats that are home to Orangutans, Sumatran Tigers and other endangered wildlife. So, when the time comes to move your mobile on, be sure to take it for specialist recycling, to the Lerderderg Library's sorting station or participating Mobile Muster drop-off points such as phone shops, post offices, civic centres and libraries.
Many of our gadgets rely on batteries that create a significant waste stream. Batteries contain hazards such as lead and acid, so it's important these are kept out of landfill. Do the right thing by taking your dead household batteries* including NBN batteries to transfer stations, Aldi, Bunnings, Officeworks or the Lerderderg Library collection points. And remember that whilst rechargeable batteries cost more initially, they have a long lifespan when compared to regular batteries, and are therefore a more sustainable choice.
Car batteries can be taken to transfer stations at no fee, or you can donate them locally to the Rotary Club of Ballan to aid its fundraising efforts. Simply drop off your car battery at the True Value hardware store or at First National Real Estate, both on Inglis Street, Ballan.
Unwanted electrical and electronic items (e-waste) create the single biggest waste stream of developed societies. Anything with a battery or cord that is no longer wanted or needed can become an environmental problem.
Be in the know! E-waste is banned from landfill in Victoria, and it doesn't belong in any of your kerbside bins. Instead, drop off your e-waste items for free at Council's transfer stations. You can also drop off mobile phones, small batteries, light globes and printer cartridges at the sorting station at the Lerderderg Library in Main Street, Bacchus Marsh. E-waste is then collected and processed by specialist recyclers, ensuring fewer virgin materials are used in our gadgets, mobiles, computers and TVs into the future.
Other ways to do your bit for the environment
The waste hierarchy teaches us all to rethink and reduce our consumer habits, rather than using resources that are often in limited supply. As consumers, we have the power to make sustainable choices about our purchases every day.
Reusable 'keep' cups
Most single-use coffee cups are not recyclable through kerbside collections. On the other hand, a reusable "keep" cup lasts for years and often gets you a cafe discount too!
Are you a new parent? Have you considered cloth nappies? Whether you're just starting the journey or are an old hand, the maths is staggering, with around 2500 disposable nappies being used in the first year alone. That's a lot of space taken up in your garbage bin and therefore a lot of landfill waste! Check out the Bacchus Marsh Cloth Nappy Library. It offers information, a trial lending service and a supportive ear: http://www.mooraboolmeg.org.au/Home/cloth-nappy-library
Buy, Swap, Sell
Got something you no longer want or need, but that is good enough to "go round" again for someone else to make use of? Connect with your local community through your local paper or online buy-swap-sell, garage sales (remember you can participate in the national, annual Garage Sale Trail independently of Councils and at any time of year) and charities including food banks.
Buying or being given something preloved is budget-friendly and saves materials, water, energy and carbon miles needed to create, transport and new items. Plus, you might just chance upon that one-of-a-kind treasure, so show your op shops some love! You can also pick up the excellent "Op Shop Adventures" free guide, packed with tips and location info, from the Visitor Information Centre or read it onscreen.
The Statewide ban on lightweight plastic bags applies to all stores across Victoria, so be sure to BYO reusable bags whenever you go shopping. Boomerang Bags is a home-grown enterprise now with over 800 groups around the world, sewing cloth bags to reduce reliance on plastic. They have expanded their products beyond reusable bags, and you can find the range online.