Let's All Recycle Right

#RecycleRight is a new region-wide campaign asking people to make some simple changes to recycling routines.

The main message of this new campaign is to keep it simple and ensure you are only placing clean and correct recycling materials in your yellow bin. It is essential that we have clean recyclables that we can send off for remanufacturing in Australia and overseas.

If we all do this, we can keep our resources coming 'round and get the most life out of every product.

Why have the recycling rules changed?

Changes to China’s recycling rules in January 2018 have affected the recycling industry across the world. For a long time, China was the largest importer of the world’s recycling, accepting over 30 million tonnes every year and ultimately having the capability to drive recycling prices and practices worldwide.

Until a few years ago, China accepted recyclables with a relaxed contamination level of around 5% (contamination being incorrect items mixed in with the material to be recycled). This meant China accepted a large proportion of the world’s waste, which was then their problem to deal with.

The ‘National Sword Policy’ introduced in January 2018 enforces a strict contamination limit of 0.5%, which sent the global recycling industry into shock – much of the world’s recycling could not meet this new export standard.

On the up side, the National Sword Policy is a catalyst for change, forcing us to recycle better, develop new technologies to better sort our recycling and develop new industry within Australia that supports the processing and manufacture of goods using recycled content.

More materials are now being recycled in Australia, as well as overseas – but we need a very clean recycling stream to ensure they can be processed and remanufactured into new products.

The #RecycleRight campaign is all about ensuring we have clean and uncontaminated recycling.

How do I know what to recycle?

The #RecycleRight campaign asks people to follow six easy recycling routines. Download Recycle Right Poster as a quick guide on how to recycle.

Only recycle household items made of plastic, glass, steel, aluminium, paper and cardboard. An item that is made out of more than one type of material cannot be recycled, unless you can separate the material.

Did you know?

  • It is cheaper to process recyclables than send them to landfill as it avoids the State Government waste levy. These levies on waste will continue to incentivise less going to landfill.
  • 25% of what ends up in the typical red bin is recyclable material that should be going into the recycling bin and diverted from landfill.
  • Council accepts the following for FREE at the Grafton Regional Landfill and at our Waste Transfer Stations in Grafton and Maclean : bulk cardboard, glass bottles and aluminium cans, oil, hazardous materials including paint, e-waste, gas bottles, and scrap metals such as whitegoods.
  • Collection vehicles are fitted with cameras. Bins that have incorrect items will be tagged and will only be collected once the resident has removed incorrect items in each bin.
  • Plastic bags get caught in the equipment and clog up sorting machinery sometimes causing serious damage and increasing recycling costs.

Here is a quick guide to the #RecycleRight routines:

#1: Keep it Simple

Only recycle household items made of plastic, glass, steel, aluminium, paper and cardboard.

Tip: To know what goes where download the Clarence Valley Waste App or check out the back of your magnetic waste calendar.

#2: Keep out Soft Plastics

We need to keep out all soft plastics including plastic bags, soft plastic packaging, cling wrap, pasta packets, bread bags, biscuit trays etc.

Tip: Take your soft plastics to major supermarket ‘Redcycle’ collection points – this way you can still avoid placing them in the red landfill bin. Even better, avoid plastic where possible by using your own reusable bags, bottles and containers.

#3: Keep out Small Items

Do not place anything smaller than a credit card into your recycling bin including bottle lids, bread tags and straws. We can no longer accept these, even if collected together in an old milk bottle. If it’s smaller than a credit card, keep it out.

Tip: Put small pieces of paper or cardboard in your green organics bin, and other small items in your red landfill bin. Larger lids such as the lids off yoghurt tubs can go in your recycling bin on or off the container.

#4: Keep it Safe

Keep it safe for our Materials Recovery Facility workers and our machines. Keep out anything hazardous that can harm our workers or anything that can stop or damage the machines, particularly things that can get wrapped around the machinery such as strapping, cords, clothing, hose, netting, wire, fishing line, building materials, chemicals and other hazardous materials.

Tip: You can drop-off household problem waste such as car batteries, fire extinguishers, gas bottles, oil, paint and large e-waste such as computers, laptops and TVs free of charge at our Community Recycling Centres in Grafton and Maclean. There is a 20kg/20-litre limit after which fees apply.

#5: Keep it Clean

Keep it clean by rinsing or wiping out your containers of any food or drink. You can also Keep it Clean by keeping out items that will contaminate your recycling bin. This means NO food scraps, NO nappies, NO dirty paper or cardboard, NO meat trays, NO clothing or fabric, NO soft plastics and NO polystyrene.

Tip: To know what goes where download the Clarence Valley Waste App or check out the back of your magnetic waste calendar.

#6: Keep it Loose

Don’t bag or box your recyclables – just place them loose into your recycling bin. Things move quickly along the conveyor belts at the Materials Recovery Facility and there is no time for staff to sort out bags or boxes.

Tip: Clean recycling means you don’t need to line your kitchen recycling bin and can just put them in loose!

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