The biggest mistake you’re making when you recycle

It’s good to be environmentally conscious, but it’s important to educate yourself on what can, and can’t, be re-used or recycled.

You’ve brought your Keep Cup to work every day, you’re printing on both sides of the paper, and you’ve clearly labelled the dedicated recycling boxes. Yet, are you still guilty of making some common recycling mistakes?

Most likely. The most common mistake made when recycling is that many of us don’t clean the glass, plastic, paper or metal when we dispose of it in the recycling. According to recycling companies, this means the entire bin or box of rubbish is contaminated, rendering all your good work useless.

It’s also important to know what goes where. Many of us don’t think enough about what we’re throwing away or whether certain packaging needs specific treatment in order to break it down. Luckily there are many companies who not only run recycling programs, but also provide extensive guidelines and lists to help you decide what rubbish goes in which bin (or elsewhere).

A quick and easy rule to remember? Do the scrunch test. If it’s soft plastic and can be scrunched into a ball, it can be placed into a recycled receptacle. If you can’t scrunch it up, then it can’t be recycled, and may need to be collected from the kerb.

There are also programs out there that are reimagining the way we recycle by thinking outside the (recycled) box - literally! For example, TerraCycle is a recycling company that has created a charitable system where common household items can be sent in and recycled in exchange for donations, free of charge. They have recently teamed up with Burt’s Bees, allowing consumers to collect their finished beauty and skincare products for a good cause instead of letting them end up in landfill. By signing up online, you can start collecting your empties into a carboard box, print out a free mailing label from your account online, and sending it in for compensation. For every shipment over one kilogram sent to TerraCycle, collectors earn $1 towards their nominated Australian school or charity.

Find out more about Burt’s Bees Recycle on Us initiative.

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