So for four weeks of August we put aside most of the unrecycleable plastic we would normally throw away. What didn’t get put aside was all the medication blister packs – Paul realise they counted as non-recyclable packaging to collect for the month.
I’ve divided everything into categories:
Packaging other people left here:
Ice-cream container – black plastic
Lids from soda bottles – black plastic, too small
Packaging my council says not to put in our bin despite the numbers being right (grrr!):
Clear biscuit trays
Fridge magnet from real estate agent
Cosmetics and bathroom items from cull
Wire ties x 2
Porridge sachet packaging – plastic lined
Butter packaging – plastic lined
Olive oil spray – no recycling info on can
Moisturiser bottle – bottle is recyclable but pump not
Pizza sauce container – lid is too small
Christmas pudding packaging – black plastic
Lite’n’easy packaging – black plastic
Yoghurt container lid – black plastic
Various lids and caps – too small
Packaging from electronic items x 2
Latex free glove
Changes we’re making:
I’ve read that anything smaller than your fist will fall through the sorting machine at the recyclers, so I’m putting these into larger containers of the same kind of plastic, and labelling the container to indicate this. Hopefully that’ll get them through the system.
The sorting machines can’t see black plastic, so we’re switching yoghurt and diet meal brands to ones that don’t use it. Christmas pudding is only a yearly indulgence and the container is a really good size scoop for potting mix, seed raising mix, etc., so those will be repurposed.
We’re changing the brand of butter to one that uses paper, and Paul is switching to Quick Oats which come in a cardboard box.
I’ve bought a metal razor. This is gonna be interesting. Paul is not keen on the idea. Fair enough. He does a lot more shaving than me!
The only biscuits we buy are crackers for cheese. I made oat cakes and they came out great. Don’t know why I didn’t try that sooner.
We were already buying carbonated drinks in cans and glass bottles, since large plastic bottles make you drink more than you really want because you feel like you need to ‘use it up’. To avoid ending up with lots of bottles here after parties we’re going to supply cans for gatherings and tell people we’ve got drinks covered.
We’ll just use olive oil and avoid the spray.
The pizza sauce was a one-off for a party. Normally I buy little cans and freeze the leftovers. I’m going to repurpose the sauce bottle for homemade okonomiyaki sauce, to avoid the non-recyclable bottles it comes in. (I’m also going to make the mayonnaise, which is even simpler.)
I’m going to do what Mum used to do with rubber gloves – cut them into rubber bands. They’ll be good for holding the beeswax wraps I made onto the tops of containers.
The ice cream container can collect batteries for recycling at Aldi, and the wire ties will be reused when we get bread from the bakery.
Medication blister packs can be dropped off to Terra Cycle collection points, so we’ll start collecting them now. I bought paracetamol and ibuprofen in recyclable bottles… but the bottles are smaller than my fist and the caps have no plastic number on them so I may as well stick with blister packs.
I believe there are Terra Cycle collection points for dental products, too. I’ve offered to collect friends’ cosmetic packaging to send to Terra Cycle at the end of the year, or when I have 7kg worth.
Overall we didn’t have an awful lot of non-recyclable packaging over the four weeks, but most of what we did get can be pretty easily avoided – or send to Terra Cycle. It’s been interesting and educational looking into alternatives.
I want to ring the real estate agent and tell them to stop sending us stuff, but I know Paul will be really sad when he doesn’t get his free hot cross buns at Easter. Do schools like to make stuff out of those flat plastic fridge magnets?