It's National Recycling Week! So what can and can't be recycled?

According to the Australian Council of Recycling, there has been a 20 per cent increase in household waste and recycling during the pandemic. 

 "This is because of an increase in single use items, lots of takeaway food packaging, and more time spent at home," Austin Health Sustainability Manager, Steph Lai says. 

To help improve recycling across Australia, Steph wants you to avoid ‘wish-cycling’.

“Many things we put in the recycling bin actually contaminate the load, so take the time to check packaging and see if what you’re throwing in the recycling bin can actually be recycled.”

How do you properly dispose of surgical masks?

“Surgical masks have become a common litter item during the pandemic," Steph says.  

Unfortunately, no part of the surgical mask can be recycled.

 “Surgical masks should be put into a bag before going into the wheelie bin so the masks don't fly out when the bin is emptied,” says Steph. 

Recycling coffee cups?

Steph says there are no coffee cups currently in use in Australia that are fully recyclable in your regular household recycling. 

“Some councils accept the lid, if the lid is made from plastic.

“If the cup or lid indicates that it is ‘biodegradable’, then this item is not recyclable and should go into general waste. 

“A lot of cafes and bulk food stores have started accepting keep cups and your own containers again, with excellent hygiene processes in place. Another option is, when you get your takeaway, refuse the lid if you’re not going far.

“At Austin Health, no parts of the coffee cup or lid are able to be placed into recycling bins,” Steph says.