Residents praised for recycling efforts image

10 May 2018

City of Albany residents have improved their recycling habits with a five per cent decrease in contamination found in kerbside recycle bins over the past year.

Audits by waste contractor Cleanaway in January this year found contamination in 15 per cent of recycle bins checked, down from 20 per cent in January 2017. Bins contaminated with loose plastic bags decreased from 13 per cent to 7 per cent.

Waste Sustainability Officer Julie Passmore said incorrect items placed in recycle bins had included plastic bags, food scraps, nappies, electrical waste, polystyrene, clothing, scrap metal and non-container plastics.

“Contaminated recycling impedes the sorting process, can damage machinery and even send an entire truckload of recyclables to landfill,” Ms Passmore said.

“Good community recycling habits combined with the machine and hand sorting at Albany’s Material Recovery Facility mean the bales of recyclable materials coming out of Albany have low rates of contamination and are more sought after on the recycling market.” 

Plastic bags are the most common contaminant found in recycling and can cause machinery at the sorting facility to grind to a halt.  

Ms Passmore said recyclables needed to be placed loose in kerbside bins and soft plastics needed to be kept out. 

“Soft plastics which can be scrunched into a ball can be taken to the REDcycle collection points at Coles supermarkets in Albany or otherwise must be put into the general waste bin,” she said. 

Cleanaway staff conduct weekly bin audits along selected streets and drivers can also detect contamination via a camera fitted inside collection trucks.

“Most residents try to do the right thing and contamination usually occurs by mistake,” Ms Passmore said. “The City of Albany smartphone app and website are handy resources to find out what can go in kerbside recycle bins and we encourage residents to contact the City or Cleanaway for clarification on any items.” 

The City of Albany App is free and can be downloaded to Android or Apple phones and tablets