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Your Rubbish Bin's Vital Statistics

Your Rubbish Bin's Vital Statistics

Down at the tip, there are people spying on your rubbish

The average person generates a whopping 2.5 kilograms of rubbish every day and about 1.5 tonnes each year. Australians generate nearly 50 million tonnes of waste collectively every year.  

Lurking around pretty much every council rubbish tip in Australia are 'Landfill Environmentalists' - people who are literally counting what's in your rubbish and trying to work out how to get you to recycle more of it. They are having slow, deliberate success by the way - influencing householder through marketing and educating our children.

The thing is that most of your (three-quarters by some estimates) can be recycled. So what goes in the bin and where can you capitalize on this immense opportunity to offset landfill debris and curb carbon emissions? Here are the big players to look out for: 

Aluminium Cans. We use a lot of aluminium cans, such as those used for soft drinks, so they are a prime candidate to recycle. What’s best is they’re incredibly easy to recycle and can be remade over and over again. As a bonus, recycling cans saves lots of energy - remaking twenty recycled cans uses the same amount of energy that it takes to make just one can from scratch.  

Paper.  An incredible one-third of municipal waste comes from paper products.  Since paper is made from trees, recycling paper can significantly reduce the need to deforest our pristine landscapes. Surprisingly, recycling paper saves a considerable amount of energy, because remaking paper requires 99% less energy than making it from raw materials.


Plastics.  Every year, Australians use almost 400,000 tonnes of plastic for packaging, bottling and other needs.  Plastic takes about 500 years to break down in a landfill so setting it aside for your recycle bin is a great way to help the environment. 

Glass.  We use glass for a lot of different packaging and have been for centuries. What’s great about glass, is that it’s 100% recyclable. Plus, recycling glass produces half of the amount of greenhouse gases than it would take to make the glass product again from scratch.  

Organic Waste.  Organic waste – i.e. food waste – represents a huge portion of waste that ends up in our landfills, and, believe it or not, organics can take a long time to break down, simply due to the lack of oxygen in landfills that is needed for decomposition. But you can easily recycle your organic waste simply by composting it and using it for fertilizer! There are many counter top composters, as well as composters for balconies, small spaces and larger spaces. Some councils now have local compost bins where you can recycle your waste or start your own composting project in your backyard.  

Green Waste.  Green waste includes branches, trees, leaves, lawn clippings - anything green from your garden. It is also organic matter and takes a long time to break down in landfill in the absence of oxygen. Most councils now have green waste bins or dump your green waste in your compost bin if you have a big enough one.

For more information see our How to Recycle Guide

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