Getting our bins sorted

Hawkesbury City Council will commence random bin inspections next week to encourage residents to improve recycling rates in their recycling and garden organics bins.

Bin inspections programs are an important aspect of community recycling education by providing instant feedback to residents about their recycling behaviours.

The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett is keen to see Hawkesbury residents continue to increase their levels of recycling to “help our environment and to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill”.

“Council’s annual bin inspection program aims to encourage all Hawkesbury residents to recycle right,” Mayor Lyons-Buckett said.

“Contracted inspectors will look in our recycling (yellow lid) and organics (green lid) bins to check for contamination, which means things that don’t belong in those bins.

“So many of our residents, including children, are helping to keep contaminants out of recycling and organics bins, and we need to keep improving,” she said.

“Inspectors will check the content of bins when they are out on the kerb, but rest assured, they won’t be going through your rubbish or tipping out your bin.

“If you are doing a great job, you will receive a green Smiley Face Bin Tag. If there is contamination, you will receive a red Contamination Sad Face Bin Tag that simply explains how to sort correctly.”

When a recycling or garden organics bin is contaminated with incorrect items, the recovery process becomes less efficient and can result in valuable resources being sent to landfill rather than being reused or recycled. This causes both financial and environmental loss.

Contamination makes the service more expensive; it can cause injury to workers sorting the materials and it can also result in truckloads of recycling or green waste being sent to landfill.

All councils in metropolitan Sydney conduct similar bin inspection programs. Hawkesbury City Council has conducted bin inspections since 2013.

The bin inspection program is for educational purposes only and residents will not receive financial penalties if contamination is present.

For further information on what can actually go into your bins (such as no food scraps in the organics bin and no toys in the recycling bin), visit Council’s website www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au for the A-Z Reuse and Recycling Guide for the Hawkesbury and the Household Waste Guide or call Customer Service on 4560 4444 for a copy to be mailed out to you.

Hawkesbury recycling statistics:

  • There is a 10.5% contamination rate in Hawkesbury recycling bin.
  • Hawkesbury residents recycle on average 540 tonnes per month, 6480 tonnes per year.
  • 14.2% of Red Lid Waste Bin contents from the Hawkesbury is recyclable
  • 27.7% of Red Lid Waste Bin contents the Hawkesbury is food organics. Why not stop that going to landfill. You can currently purchase a compost bin for $69.90 or worm farm (and worms) for $73.90 which is 50% off RRP by being a part of Council’s Compost Revolution program. See Council’s website for information or direct link http://compostrevolution.com.au/hawkesbury

Frequently asked questions

  • What can go in recycling bins? Newspapers, magazine, junk mail, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, milk and juice cartons, steel/tin and aluminium cans, aluminium foil/trays, empty aerosols (like bug spray, deodorants, air fresheners), all hard plastic containers (like ice-cream containers, margarine tubs, fruit and vegetable punnets, salad dressing and sauce bottles, shampoo/conditioner bottles, dishwashing liquid and laundry powder/liquid bottles.
  • What can't go in recycling bins? Recycling in plastic bags, plastic bags, food scraps, polystyrene (foam), plastic wrapping and cling film, plastic packets (like chip packets, pet food bags, lolly and ice-cream wrappers, muesli bar wrappers, bread bags, rice and pasta bags, etc.), electronics, clothing/textiles (including shoes, backpacks, sheets and towels), toys (hard or soft), garden waste, tissues/serviettes/face wipes/paper towel, shredded paper, nappies, medical waste, chemicals, building materials. Also, you can only recycle packaging items made of plastic, steel, aluminium and glass. Therefore, no hard plastic items such as toys, furniture, washing tubs, buckets, plastic pots, etc. can go in recycling. No plastic or metal coat hangers, scrap metal or other glass such as window glass, drinking glasses or light globes can go in recycling.
  • Tissues, serviettes and shredded paper are made from paper so why can't they go in the recycling bin? Every time things are recycled the quality is reduced. Paper products like tissues and serviettes may be contaminated so they should not go in the recycling bin. However, even if they haven't been used, they are still not worth recycling as the quality is so low. Shredded paper causes problems at the recycling facilities as it gets caught in machinery.
  • There are so many different plastics, how do I know if a plastic item can be recycled or not? Try to scrunch it up in one hand. If you can scrunch it into a ball without much effort and using only one hand, then it is considered 'soft plastic' and should not be put in the recycling bin. Some examples of soft plastic are chip packets, pet food bags, lolly and ice-cream wrappers, muesli bar wrappers, bread bags, rice and pasta bags.
  • What can go in garden organics bins? Grass clippings, fresh or dry leaves, cut flowers, pruned bushes, sticks (no longer than 40cm in length and 10cm in diameter) and garden weeds.
  • What can't go in garden organics bins? Plastic bags and liners, garbage, tree stumps, food waste, animal droppings and wastes, terracotta and plastic pots, string and hoses, soil.
  • How do my bins have to be presented for collection? Please place your bins out by 4am on the day of collection (if you have morning collections) or by 4pm (if you have afternoon collections). Bins should be spaced at least 1m apart and clear from trees, cars and other obstructions. Lids should be fully closed and the lid opening should be facing the road.

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