One of the biggest mistakes that people make in their homes, at schools and in their businesses is not separating wet and dry waste.
This is according to Fibre Circle, the producer responsibility organisation of the paper and paper packaging sector, which is charged with promoting paper recycling awareness and encouraging consumers to separate paper products for recycling.
‘Recyclable paper such as office paper, cardboard boxes and dry food packaging should not get wet or dirty,’ explains Edith Leeuta, CEO of Fibre Circle. ‘Because paper is effectively a natural product, any contact with moisture – such as tea bags, food scraps or dirty items – will set off the degradation process.’
Keeping paper products dry, separate and available for recycling is good for three reasons:
– It is easier, cleaner and quicker for waste collectors to retrieve these items.
– You will begin to notice your own waste footprint and how you can further reduce it, by composting your food waste, for example.
– Paper fibres retain their integrity, which means a better quality product when the paper is recycled.
Another great reason to recycle and do it properly, is that it reduces the amount of waste going to landfill. ‘A day like World Environment Day on 5 June often gives us the opportunity to give a little more thought to what we do every day and how we can do better when it comes to the environment,’ says Leeuta.
Get your recycling and waste reduction back on track
These paper products are recyclable:
– Common cardboard boxes of any kind dry food, cosmetic and medicine boxes; roll cores, packing cartons (flattened)
– Paper grocery and take-away bags
– Pizza boxes, burger boxes and paper-based clam shells – remove any food residue
– Newspapers, magazines and brochures, including glossy varieties
– Office and shredded paper, envelopes
– Old telephone directories
– Paper giftwrap (sticky tape removed)
– Damaged hardcover and paperback books
– Food and beverage cartons
– Paper cups – rinse lightly and dry
Keep these out of your paper recycling!
– Tissues, toilet paper and serviettes
– Food waste
– Wet/dirty paper and cardboard
– Sticky notes
– Used paper plates
– Disposable nappies
– Wax-coated, foil-lined or laminated boxes
– Foil gift wrapping, carbon and laminated paper
Keep these in a separate recycling bin:
– Tins and cans
Set-up a home composting system or work with your neighbours
Approximately 30% of all household waste being disposed of at landfill consists of organic waste that could potentially be diverted from landfill by means of household composting.