The surest way to keep rubbish out of the landfill is not to buy things that will end up there.
By rethinking our buying habits we can avoid worrying about what to do with rubbish, have less impact on the environment, and keep rates down by spending less on the landfill. By not buying products with excess packaging or in packaging for which there is no recycling market, we also send manufacturers and retailers the message that we want less packaging.
Every step to reduce waste production helps, so consider the following challenges:
- Buy loose fruit and vegetables and paper wrapped bread
- If you do have to buy a product in plastic, choose one that we can be sure is recycled - a bottle stamped 1 or 2
- Take reusable bags with you when shopping
- Choose products with less packaging or recyclable packaging
- Buy yourself a couple of reusable coffee cups and water bottles for carrying in the car or on the bike
- Consider using cloth nappies for baby whenever possible
One of the more recent issues is the number of products that are not marked as recyclable, biodegradable or compostable.
Typical examples are ‘compostable or biodegradable’ coffee cups and ‘compostable or biodegradable’ disposable nappies. Our waste in the landfill is closely compacted, which does not allow oxygen to get to the rubbish. This means that the conditions are not right for composting – anything that goes into a landfill is not composted.
For similar reasons, these products should not be added to home compost piles – the conditions are not suitable for composting things like nappies or plastic coffee cup lids.
More information on biodegradable and compostable plastics from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is available here:
Composting or recycling plastics
In Whangārei, we collect only plastics marked 1 and 2. We need to sort the plastics that we can recycle from those we can’t. Plastics type 1 and 2, if clean, remain a valuable commodity for recycling. There is no market for smelly, dirty plastic. We need to keep it clean! Including plastics that cannot be recycled increases the cost of collecting and processing recycling.
For more on our kerbside recycling service, including what you can and can’t put out, take a look at the kerbside collection section of our website:
Weekly rubbish and recycling collection