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Council steps up efforts to reduce contamination in household bins

Published on 08 October 2020

Suez Contamination Officer, Louise Anger, has become the City of Ryde’s latest asset in trying to reduce contamination in yellow-lid recycling bins and green-lid garden organic bins. 

Contamination in recycling bins and garden organic bins is a serious environmental issue. Recycling and garden organic collections with high contamination rates are rejected by processing centres, meaning they end up in landfill. 

Ms Anger’s role involves identifying “hot spots” for high contamination levels in various parts of the City of Ryde as well as reviewing the data provided by the waste trucks. 

Ms Anger will conduct random checks of household bins in identified hot spot areas when they are put out for collection. 

Bins that have no contamination will receive a green tag, while those with contamination items identified will have a red tag placed on their bin advising the resident what the issue was. In the rare event where more than 30 percent of a bin’s contents is contaminated, a yellow tag will be issued, the bin will be taped shut and not collected.

Ms Anger said the most common items that contaminate yellow-lid and green-lid bins are plastic bags, bagged recyclables, soft plastics, polystyrene items and disposable coffee cups.

Ms Anger said the purpose of her role was to educate residents about what can and cannot be put in the different household waste bins.

“The vast majority of contamination is done inadvertently and is not a deliberate act. The purpose of my role is not to punish, but to educate as we all have a role to play in reducing waste contamination and in turn reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill,” Ms Anger said. 

In addition to issuing tags, Ms Anger will also distribute waste education packs to households which either have high levels of contamination found in their bins or have been found to have contamination in their bins on multiple occasions. 

City of Ryde Waste Project Coordinator, Emma Tang, said monitoring for contamination was just one of the many tools Council was adopting to educate residents on what items can and cannot be placed in each household bin. 

Ms Tang said it was the responsibility of everyone in the City of Ryde to do their part to reduce contamination.

“The important thing to remember for all residents is ‘if in doubt, leave it out’,” Ms Tang said.

“Understandably the messaging around recycling can be confusing due to the sheer amount of information that is out there regarding recycling, on top of that there are also a lot of different terminologies that are thrown around which can also cause confusion,” Ms Tang said.

“With this in mind, it is important to keep things simple and try to only place the following items in the yellow recycling bin: 

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Steel and aluminium cans
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles and containers.

“Alternatively, residents can check Council’s A – Z guide to waste and recycling available on Council’s website. This provides a detailed list of what can and cannot be put in household bins.”

Last updated on 8 October 2020