Quirks between councils can make the weekly collection confusing.
“There’s no uniformity in the types of packaging collected for recycling across metropolitan Melbourne,” says Maree Pollard, the coordinator of Banyule City Council’s Rethink Centre. “And that leads to confusion.” She runs waste-wise education programs at the Visy Heidelberg Material Recovery Facility.
Ms Pollard says that although catch-all websites like Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You can be helpful, “if you have any questions about kerbside recycling, the first port of call should be your local council.”
There are, however, some rules of thumb. Nearly all types of paper and cardboard can be recycled, including milk and juice containers and envelopes with plastic windows. Paper bound with staples or clips is fine too. The only exception is waxed cardboard such as greengrocers’ boxes.
Glass is not so forgiving: you can only recycle bottles and jars. “No oven-proof, drinking or window glass, and absolutely no ceramics,” says Ms Pollard. As for plastic packaging, put in rigid containers bearing the recycling symbol, but beware, because rules differ among municipalities. “It can vary from only symbols 1 to 3, all the way to from 1 to 7.”
Ms Pollard’s other tips include : roll aluminium foil into a good-sized ball; don’t bother removing labels from steel cans; and ask your council if they want container lids on or off.
And finally: to rinse or not to rinse? In Banyule, Ms Pollard would prefer residents do: “It keeps the conveyors from clogging and discourages vermin.”