Waste of rubbish

The revelation that as much as 65% of waste sent to landfill by households in the Mt Barker district is reusable shows there are considerable problems in the system.
While we all recognise that there is a need to recycle and reuse – both to reduce the burden on our environment and on council finances through skyrocketing landfill levies – somehow the message isn’t getting through.
Part of that problem lies in confusion.
There is so much conflicting information around recycling that many are unsure which piece of rubbish should go into which bin.
Takeaway coffee cups are a great example.
While many place the cardboard cup in the recycling and the plastic lid in the general waste, it should be the other way round – the plastic lids are usually recyclable while the cardboard cup is waxed and can’t be recycled through the typical yellow bin stream.
It’s just one example of an at-times convoluted system that has many homeowners scratching their heads in confusion.
Added to that are the differences between kerbside waste systems in different council areas – some like Mt Barker allow food waste to be recycled through the green bin system, others do not.
Loose plastic lids can be put in the yellow bin if you live in Stirling, but not if you live in Mt Barker because the rubbish is collected by different waste companies.
Clearly there is a need for more education, especially in a growing district such as Mt Barker, where hundreds of new residents are settling each year from other council regions.
Streamlining the State’s kerbside waste systems to provide uniformity would also help minimise confusion.
The Mt Barker Council has made it relatively easy to make an environmental impact by providing the three-bin system.
Residents, however, need greater clarity over what rubbish is for what bin.
They must also accept their own responsibility for reducing the amount of waste they produce and send to landfill via the blue-lid bins.
If we don’t make a greater effort to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste, we will all end up paying for it, both in higher waste collection fees and in the cost to our environment.