Your recycling helps to turn used products into new items without needing to use up new materials.
But it takes a coordinated effort between local councils, recycling and processing facilities, waste management groups as well as the companies that turn raw recycled materials into new products.
After your recycling is collected by a truck, it’s taken to a sorting facility called a Materials Recovery Facility. Here, your recycling is loaded onto conveyor belts where it’s sorted into categories using a series of high tech machines. The machines cannot sort some items such as bagged recyclables and food scraps. These need to be sorted by hand, which is difficult and time consuming.
Once the recycling is sorted into categories, it is transported to different processing facilities where new products can be made
Paper and cardboard can become new cardboard boxes, recycled aluminium can turn into soft drink cans and plastic can turn up as a new household wheelie bin.
Being careful to recycle every item correctly ensures the recycling process is as efficient as possible. It’s good for the environment and for the sustainability of the Victorian community.
Recycling is crucial, but there are two big steps before we recycle – reduce and reuse. The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. It takes a lot of materials and energy to make a new product, including raw, finite natural resources. Let's not make all that effort to dig them up only to put them back into the ground without making the most of them.
Reduce your waste and live sustainably by:
Once the recycling truck is full, it is taken to a sorting facility called an MRF – or Materials Recovery Facility – such as Visy Recycling. Here your recycling is sorted into different recycling categories.
All of the recyclables are loaded onto a conveyor belt, where they begin their long journey through the MRF. The MRF operates using a combination of high-tech sorting machines. The machines cannot sort incorrect items such as bags of rubbish, bagged recyclables and food scraps. These need to be sorted by hand, which is difficult and time consuming. If you put your recycling in plastic bags, it will end up in landfill because it can't be easily sorted and recycled.
Different machines sort different types of recycling, such as paper, cardboard, steel, aluminium, plastic and glass. The sorted materials are transported to different processing facilities so new products can be made from the recycled materials.
Being careful to recycle the right items in the correct way will ensure that the recycling process is as efficient as possible. Follow our top five recycling tips to make sure you're doing everything you can to reduce landfill, conserve energy and resources, and minimise greenhouse gases.
Rid your home of dangerous and toxic waste responsibly, with the free Detox your Home program.
Planet Ark's Recycling Near You site offers information about the recycling and waste services offered by your council as well as local drop-off options for items including computers, batteries, printer cartridges and mobile phones.
RED Group has teamed up with Coles, Woolworths and some of Australia's most-loved brands to to run the REDcycle Program, making it easy for you to keep your plastic bags and soft plastic packaging out of landfill.
Household paint, batteries and fluorescent lights can be dropped off for free. Check with your local council for details.
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