What can I Recycle?

Everyone knows recycling is important, but what many people don’t know is exactly how and what to recycle. Even a year after the Armidale Dumaresq Council introduced the City-to-Soil program to decrease the amount of organic material that ends up in landfill (Monica Fortunaso’s article on this program can be found in July’s issue of Nucleus), people still aren't totally sure what can go in the big green bin, or the others for that matter.  It’s my aim here to provide a simple resource to clear up at least some of this confusion once and for all. Here is a quick guide to what goes where.

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Plastic Bags - Crate without lid

This would seem like an obvious one but enormous amounts of plastic bags end up heading to landfill that could easily be recycled. Chuck your plastic bags with your other plastic recyclables, just remember to weigh them down with something so they don’t fly away in the wind.

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‘Bio-degradable’ shopping bags - Red bin

This is a tricky one. Some shops in Armidale give shoppers plastic bags at checkout that are labelled as ‘bio-degradable’. As these do not compost well they should not go in the Green bin, nor in the plastics bin as they cannot be recycled along with regular plastic bags. These bags will safely bio-degrade in landfill so the Red bin is the place for them. However, bags labelled as ‘Compostable’ (yes, there is a difference) can go in the Green bin, as they will break down quickly.

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Polystyrene - Take to Tip

One of the only ‘plastic’ things that can’t be recycled in the bins is polystyrene, but it can be taken to the Waste Management Centre on Long Swamp Road. Any quantity can be recycled free of charge. The council asks that you don’t leave it kerbside as it’s lightweight and can easily blow away in the wind.

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Damaged bins - Call for Repair/Replacement

If any of your bins are damaged - cracking at the sides, lid snapped off, etc. - the council will repair or replace these free of charge. Just call the Waste Hotline on 1300 136 322.

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Pizza boxes - Green bin

It’s commonly assumed that pizza boxes go in the cardboard recycling bin, but as these usually contain food scraps they cannot be recycled with other cardboard, but easily break down in composting. This is the case with any ‘soiled’ cardboard or paper, if it’s got food on it, it can go in the green bin.

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Fluorescent light bulbs - Cetnaj and The Big Light Bulb

There are special bins at both of these stores in town where fluorescent light bulbs can be disposed of free of charge for environmentally safe recycling.

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What can go in the big green bin?

- Kitchen Waste (in Compostable bags) - Any raw or cooked food - Tea bags - Coffee grounds - Fruit/Veggies - Peelings - Leftovers - Paper towels - Meat/Fish - Cooking oil - Clean, loose green waste such as leaves, branches, prunings and grass clippings - Soiled, wet paper - Pizza boxes - Dog and cat litter (in a com- postable bag or wrapped in paper) - Paper and cardboard takeaway containers

What can't go in the big green bin?

- ‘Bio-degradable’ bags - Bottle tops - Glass - Plastics - Metals - Medicines or Chemicals - Nappies - Cigarette butts - Gardening tools - Fertilisers - Insecticides - Weed poisons - Any toxic or dangerous substances

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What can go in the black crates?

Crate without lid:

- Plastic bags - Milk and drink containers - Aluminium and steel cans - Glass - Plastic

Crate with lid:

- Clean paper - Clean cardboard

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For more information on the City-to-Soil program, and other recycling programs in Armidale, visit www.armidale.nsw.gov.au or call the Armidale Dumaresq City Council on 6770 3600

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