By Elyssa Weavers
Recycling has always been complicated; there is a long list of items that can and cannot be put into the yellow bins, some of which seem quite contradictory. You may think, “why can I recycle soft drink bottles but not cling wrap? They are both plastic.” Since recycling is confusing, many people tend to just throw away all their rubbish into general waste bins. However, we need to minimise this, as it ultimately increases how much rubbish goes into landfill. Although recycling can be complicated, let’s simplify things a bit with five ways you can recycle your waste that you may not know about.
QUT Recycling Stations
Starting right here on QUT grounds, the QUT Environment Collective were successful in installing recycling stations in the libraries at Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove in May this year. The stations accept numerous forms of electronic waste, including batteries, mobile phones, CDs/disks, household cables, and toners/cartridges. QUT’s Environment Collective are also managing clothing donations dropped off at the recycling station. You can find the bins on the second floors of both campus libraries.
If you do not want to take your e-waste to university on your morning commute, your local Officeworks will recycle items on your behalf for free! As part of the National Television and Computer Recycling scheme, Officeworks accepts larger e-waste such as televisions and computers in addition to smaller items like batteries and phones. Check with your local Officeworks to see if they are offering this service, or try visiting other businesses working with the scheme such as Harvey Norman or The Good Guys.
Simply Cups – Coffee Cup Recycling
There is a common misconception that coffee cups – which seem to only be made of paper and plastic – can be recycled through yellow bins. Unfortunately, this is not the case because paper cups are lined with polyethylene to stop them from falling apart when holding liquids. To help appropriately dispose of our cups, there are recycling points on both campuses where students and staff can tip out excess liquid and recycle the lids and cups accordingly. Since QUT sells approximately 586,100 drinks in these coffee cups in a year, our community must recycle appropriately to avoid the cups being thrown out incorrectly and minimise any more waste going into landfill.
Containers for Change
If you have an empty bottle with the refund mark of “10¢”, then you can recycle these at designated locations by Containers for Change and receive a 10c refund. There is a convenient collection point right on Queen Street in Brisbane, in addition to locations in West End and Wolloongabba. Plastic, glass, aluminium, and paper bottles that contain the refund mark and have not contained an excluded product are eligible for recycling. Your container will not be accepted if it has contained spirits, wine, concentrated cordial, or plain milk.
Soft plastics can be returned to Woolworths, which are then repurposed into other items such as benches through their partners REDcycle and Replas. Acceptable soft plastics include single-use plastic bags, bread bags, and frozen food bags. Since these materials cannot be recycled through the yellow recycling bins, keep this recycling option in mind next time you do your groceries.
Hopefully one of these methods of recycling was new to you, and if not, maybe this will be a reminder of how we can stop our waste from harming the environment!
by Elyssa Weavers
Elyssa is in her final year of a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in Professional Communication. She is a Brisbane based writer with a passion for editing and design.