South Metropolitan Regional Council audit finds recycling levels to be low

South Metropolitan Regional Council audit finds recycling levels to be low

THE people of Perth have been asked to up their effort when it comes to recycling.

A recent audit by the South Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) – which operates the Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC) in Canning Vale – found just 46 per cent of aluminium cans and 52 per cent of plastic containers were being recycled.

That was despite the RRRC diverting more than 65 per cent of materials collected from residential recycling bins, general waste bins and kerbside green waste away from landfill five years in a row.

Ahead of National Recycling Week, running November 13 to 19, SMRC chairman Doug Thompson said there was plenty of room for improvement.

“There is a strong awareness of recycling in the community but there is still a fair amount of good recyclable materials not being placed into the correct bins and we’re not entirely sure why,” he said.

Mr Thompson said it was important things like bottles and jars were rinsed or scraped to reduce the chance they could contaminate clean recyclables.

He said lids should be removed from products, while it was important recycling is not thrown in the bin in a plastic bag “as we can’t open the bags”.

Research from Planet Ark’s guide What Goes Around: Why Buying Recycled Matters showed that while Australians have some idea of the products made from recycled materials, they were less aware of just how much could be diverted from landfill.

Recycling programs manager Ryan Collins said “we’re actually surrounded by products made from our recycling”; from wallets and purses made from tyre tubes, surfboard fins made from ocean plastic and eye glasses made from milk bottle lids.

“Inspiring discoveries from research and development projects are finding more and more ways to utilise waste, so the list of products made from recycled materials will continue to grow,” he said.

Cr Thompson said another point of importance was the need to keep organic materials out of landfill.

He said the majority of household waste can either be recycled or turned into compost, with everyone having “an important role to play by sorting their waste correctly”.

He said the SMRC was hopeful Melville’s three-bin Food Organics Garden Organics trial, which includes a dedicated bin for food scraps and natural materials from the garden, would help produce a cleaner compost for use on local parks and gardens, while reducing costs and sending less waste to landfill.

He said the trial, which was rolled out to 7,000 local homes in October had shown positive early results, with most participants adjusting to the changes quite well.

The success of the trial is likely to determine if the system is expanded into Fremantle and East Fremantle.

The State Government is looking at a new waste strategy, and it wants the public to have its say.

The Waste Authority’s paper looks at opportunities to improve WA’s waste and recycling performance, which is lagging behind other Australian jurisdictions.

One of three key objectives is to increase the amount of waste recycled.

In 2014-15, the average Western Australian generated 2,623 kilograms of waste – the highest rate of waste generation in Australia per capita and 19 per cent above the national average.

An aim set out in the consultation paper is to have 75 per cent of all waste recycled or recovered by 2030.

Visit www.wasteauthority.wa.gov.au to have your say.

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