July 3, 2022

Surviving the Plastic Apocalypse

It’s 2020. You’re in a room. You’re sprawled on the floor. Your hand is resting on something… smooth. You slowly raise your body, cracking open your eyes. You wince as light reflects from every angle. The smooth thing under your hand? It’s an empty Tim Tam packet. You look closer, it rests on a teetering pile of plastic takeaway containers. You leap up, spinning around, plastic piles are everywhere. They crunch under your feet as you stumble towards the door. The piles are filling the room, closing in, there’s no way out…  

Everyone’s woken up from this dream at some point, right? Right? 

Well, fear no more these plastic-fuelled nightmares. We’ve got the perfect recycling survival guide for you: 

Kerbside Dos and Don’ts (keep a watchful eye, these items can be sneaky) 

  • Do wash all recyclables out, but make sure any liquids or food scraps are removed 
  • Do check for the triangular recycling symbol: 1, 2 and 5 are the most commonly recyclable 
  • Do save up your foil until you can squash it into a fist sized ball, then chuck it in the recycling bin 
  • Don’t remove labels from items 
  • Don’t put in tangly items – ropes, wires, cords 
  • Don’t bag or box things up, let that plastic run wild in the bin 
  • Don’t put in plastic paper or waxed cardboard  
  • Don’t recycle your compostable containers, (hot tip: these can go in your green FOGO bin) 

Mastering Soft Plastic  

This is all your ‘scrunchable’ plastics. You can even put your sticky tape in – just fold it over so the sticky part is covered 

  • Keep it dry  
  • Brush it out, but no need to vacuum or lick out your chip packets, a few crumbs are fine  
  • Stick everything in a bag, and when full, drop it off at your local Woolies or Coles 

Specialised Recycling  

The recycling wall at the council, the TUU and other locations around the Uni are places where you can recycle a wide range of items that don’t belong in your yellow kerbside bin.  

If you’re stuck on an item and are unsure if you can recycle it, then put in the tiny extra bit of effort and check out one of these recycling joints (you can look up what they accept on the Hobart city website).  

Accepted items include batteries, phones, pens, toothbrushes/toothpaste, beauty products, DVDs, bread bag tags, etc.  

Survival tip: keep a box in your house where you can store these items and drop it off all in one go! 

Think Outside the Box  

A big part of recycling survival is putting your creative hat on (or borrowing someone else’s). You can recycle things in your own home, the Zero Waste Solutions Facebook group (and a few people on the internet) have heaps of ideas you can steal. Or you can give it away – someone else may want your old stuff.  

  • Pretend it’s 1797 and you urgently need to seal your envelope. But alas, you’re all out of wax! Melt down some of the wax from your cheese, now you can send that letter to Mr Darcy post-haste. 
  • Scared of spiders and need to start a fire? Orange peels are both great fire starters and spider repellents 
  • You can recycle your old socks, worn out clothing, and even shoes through the organisation “Man Rags.” The H&M store in town will take your old textiles as well, regardless of their condition. You even get a discount at the store for every bag you drop off! 
  • Even your glasses can be given new life. Your old frames can be dropped off at any Eyelines store, who send them to be used in the Lions Recycle for Sight Project 

With these tips, anyone can become a recycling whiz with a bit of effort. It’s good for the planet – and good for the soul.