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Friday, May 7, 2021

Recycling sorted: how to get it right

The ACT is pretty good with its waste disposal.

We’re regarded as nation leaders alongside South Australia for household recycling; we’re well equipped to recover commercial and industrial waste; and our green waste collection through free drop-off is at the global forefront of services of that nature.

So while there’s a lot we’re getting right, ACT No Waste Education team leader Robbie Ladbrook tells Canberra Weekly we still have a bit to do to tackle contamination in our recycling.

“Canberrans are really enthusiastic when it comes to recycling and they want to see it done right; 90% of what comes through this facility is the right material, but that means one in 10 times we’re getting it wrong,” Ms Ladbrook says.

She points to a couple of common mistakes we’re making.

“The biggest thing for people to remember is that the whole kerbside recycling system in Australia is designed to accept containers, packaging, paper and cardboard.

“If it’s not any of those, it doesn’t belong in your yellow bin … There are many things that can be recycled that don’t belong in your bin; they can be taken to other places and done through other channels.”

Ms Ladbrook runs the Recycling Discovery Hub in Hume, located upstairs at the Materials Recovery Facility. It’s a new education space that explores ideas around recycling and fills in some of the gaps people might want to know more about.

She says the main points to remember for kerbside recycling are to: keep out anything small, keep it safe, keep it clean, keep it simple and, if in doubt, leave it out.

“We’ve got the most wonderful resource in the Recyclopaedia, which is an A-to-Z guide that tells you what to do with anything when you’re done with it.

“That’s not just your yellow bin; it’s all sorts of items and where you can take them to dispose of them. It gives you disposable options in terms of preference of what’s the best thing to do.

To see the full Recyclopaedia, visit act.gov.au/recycling/a-z_waste_and_recycling_guide


  • Keep out anything small
  • Keep it safe
  • Keep it clean
  • Keep it simple
  • If in doubt, leave it out

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