Sustainable Living | 21st Feb, 2010

Halve your rubbish

Victorians are actually pretty good recyclers. We recycle over 60 percent of our waste. But there’s lots of room for improvement - here's how to halve your rubbish.

There are plenty of things we can recycle that often end up being dumped in landfill. It’s now common for councils to collect plastics (1 to 7), as well as paper, cans and glass. These days, you can also recycle things like mobile phones, computers, batteries and even cars.

Here’s a great site that will tell you what your local council collects, no matter where you are in Australia. It will also tell you where to recycle things like car tyres, printer cartridges and whitegoods, and where to take things like old reading glasses and empty aerosol cans.

We’ve also got some handy tips to help you make an even bigger dent in the size of your bin.

1. Get into composting

About half of the material that goes into your bin is actually compostable. If you compost it well, it breaks down without releasing methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. Lots of local councils sell heavily subsidised recycling bins and worm farms, complete with instructions on how to make your compost or worms happy and smell-free. Check out our composting fact sheet here.

2. Buy products with less packaging and buy in bulk.

Where you do have to buy packaging, try to make sure it’s recyclable.

3. Buy good quality items that will last.

If your items break, repair them instead of throwing them away and buying another.

4. Buy reusable products.

Buy reusuable products instead of disposable ones. For example, buy reusable glasses instead of plastic cups; and hankies instead of tissues.

5. Bring your own bags with you when you go shopping.

If you do end up with plastic bags, put them in the bag recycling bin at your local supermarket when you’re finished with them.

6. Put food in reusable containers instead of plastic wrap.

7. Buy less stuff you don’t need.