THE biggest myth about recycling in Hinchinbrook is being busted in a bid to stop cans and bottles being buried in landfill.
A dangerous mistruth is that general waste and yellow-lid recycling bins get emptied into one chamber in the garbage trucks that pick-up kerbside rubbish across the Shire.
This myth leads some people to take little care with what they put into the bins – but the council and local recycling group MAMs are on a mission to change that.
MAMS general manager Josh Lannen said: ‘It’s been the same myth for the last 15 years – that there’s no recycling done in Hinchinbrook.
‘It’s definitely not the case. Due to the myths of not recycling we get a lot of contamination.
‘It ends up being a huge cost to our business and the rate payer in the long term.’MAMS general manager Josh Lannen
MAMs, the company that pays cash for containers and collects kerbside waste in Hinchinbrook, has two recycling ‘single-pass’ trucks that cost $500,00 each – and they allow general waste and recycling to be kept in separate chambers.
Mr Lannen added: ‘We run a special kind of garbage truck. It’s called a single-pass truck. We can service both bin types in a single pass.
‘There’s two decks on the truck and they’re divided by a separator flap so when the driver’s operating it they’ll press either a yellow or a red button depending on the bins they’re picking up – and that will open the correct apartment.
‘A normal wheelie-bin truck you’ll see in other towns costs about $350,000.
‘The ones we use in Hinchinbrook are just over $500,000 a unit.’
Ingham Daily Press recently broke the disturbing news that 1 in 3 pieces of rubbish put into yellow-lid recycling bins is contamination.
This can lead to entire truck loads being rejected in Townsville and sent back to the Warren’s Hill landfill in Ingham.
Hinchinbrook’s dump has an estimated ten years left of life and as the government has a target of zero waste to landfill by 2050, there are no plans to dig another pit.
When the dump is full the Shire will need to find another way of getting rid of our waste – and it won’t be cheap for the rate payer.
Reducing the amount of bottles and cans that are being dumped may extend the life of Warren’s Hill.
The council have produced a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ in a bid to help people make the right choices:
Do recycle your junk mail.
Do rinse your milk bottles – they get smelly.
Do take lids off bottles and jars.
Do take cans and bottles to exchange for cash.
Do leave stuff out yellow-lid bins if you are unsure.
Don’t put lids in your household recycling bin.
Don’t put green waste in your household recycling bin.
Don’t place any fabrics in your recycling bin.
Don’t bag or box recyclables.
Don’t put any soft plastics in your household recycling bin (including plastic bags).
Don’t throw tissues or paper towels into your recycling bin as these are not recyclable.
Don’t put dirty pizza boxes in your recycling bin.
And here is a list of the top 5 myths:
1. All recyclables in Ingham go to landfill anyway.
2. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so I’ll put it in the recycling bin just in case it can be recycled.
If in doubt – leave it out.
3. Green waste is recycling, so it can go in my recycling bin.
Green waste should be recycled separately – not in the yellow-lid bins.
4. Textiles/fabrics and cords are recyclable and can therefore go into my recycling bin
Not in the yellow-lid bins – they can become entangled and contaminate loads. Donate clothes to charity shops.
5. My takeaway coffee cup is paper, so I can place it in the yellow lid recycling bin.
Paper cups are coated in plastic or lined in wax to enable the cup to hold liquid – you should not put them in your recycling bin.
Yesterday, students from St Teresa’s College, Abergowrie, recycled more than three thousand bottles and cans that would otherwise have been dumped in landfill – and raised over $300 for Torres Weka and Amy Barbi’s unborn child.
Torres worked at the school as a residential carer until he lost is life in a road accident in June.
Year 10 students from the college recently launched a campaign called ‘We can – for Baby Weka’ to raise money for Amy and Torres’ son, who is due in October.