From containing our favourite soft drink to protecting our heads in our bike helmets, plastic is so common, it’s hard to imagine life without it. But when it comes to recycling, not all plastics are created equal.
While many types of plastics are ‘technically’ recyclable, we cannot accept them all in our roadside bins.
A plastic item’s recyclability depends on several factors:
- The resin type e.g. the number you see inside the recycling symbol ♳ ♴ ♷
- The form of the product e.g. is it soft/flexible like a bag, semi-firm like a soft drink bottle or hard/rigid like a coat hanger or plastic toy.
- An end market e.g. If that resin type has a business that is prepared to pay for the material once it has been used by the consumer
- The size of the item – too small and it will fall out of the sorting machinery, too large and it won’t fit.
- The dimension – is it two dimensional like a piece of paper, or three dimensional like a bottle?
Plastics 1, 2 and 5 are used in the majority of the plastic packaging we put in our recycling bins. They are more easily turned into other useful products. It is different for plastics packaging made out of plastics 3, 4, 6, and 7, as they are lower quality and difficult to recycle into other products. This means there are limited markets for them anywhere in the world. It is important to reduce our dependence on plastics and to reuse them rather than recycling right away.
Parul Sood, Waste Solutions General Manager
Questions and Answers
Q: This item has the ♻ symbol on it – is it recyclable?
A: No, if the symbol does not have a number inside it cannot go in your kerbside bin. We are currently only accepting items with a 1, 2 and 5 recycling symbol.
e.g. ♳ ♴ ♷
ARE YOU A RECYCLING LEGEND?
Think you’ve got a handle on what goes in your recycling bin and what stays out? Test your knowledge with a Recycle Right quiz! Challenge your family to see who can get the highest score.