What to put in your Green Bin
Green waste encompasses anything that is organic matter. While green waste seems fairly self-explanatory, however there are some hard-and-fast rules which many people may not know about what green waste can go into our green waste bins. The first thing you need to know if what belongs in the green lid bin. These include:
- Food waste
- Fruit and vegetable scraps and peelings
- Shredded paper
- Small branches, twigs
- Grass trimmings, leaves, weeds
- Plants, flowers and shrub prunings
- Untreated timber
Recycling companies’ capabilities may still depend to some degree on council budgets and funding, and they also still need to focus on practicality, which is why large logs and bulky organic items are not accepted. They are too large and cumbersome to break down efficiently on a massive scale.
It is also important to note that food waste and fruit and vegetable scraps includes egg shells, coffee grounds, cooked leftovers and meat scraps, and even tea bags (with the stickers ripped off). What kind of food scraps have confused people in the past, but the green waste bin now accepts it, as long as you have prepared your food scraps for recycling collection.
What can’t you put in your green bin?
It is well known that materials like plastic bags or polystyrene are not organic and therefore do not break down. However, not everyone knows that certain types of green waste can not be put into the bins for practical reasons such as large logs which are hard to break down. Compostable nappies also continue to cause confusion and make their way into the bins, when they should not be there (no pet waste or human waste should be transported via the green bins). There are many items which cannot go into the green waste bin, which include:
- Plastic containers
- Plastic bags or plastic lids
- Plastic wrap and polystyrene
- Kitty litter
- Non-organic items
- Building materials
- Compostable and biodegradable packaging and containers
- Compostable nappies
- Plastic plant pots
- Tree stumps and branches thicker than 10cm
- Large quantities of soil
- Rock or building materials
- Plant pots or garden equipment
- Treated timber
What are the consequences of putting the wrong thing in your green bin
There are several reasons why putting the wrong things in the bin is problematic. Firstly, when green bins are contaminated by plastic, soil, nappies or other banned materials, it means that green waste which would normally be converted into compost for wildlands, parks or agricultural material will instead make its way into landfill where it will continue to contribute to unsustainable waste practices and carbon emissions. Even the smallest amount of glass or plastic could contaminate the entire batch of green waste, so it is important to be knowledgeable and purposeful regarding what goes into the green bins.
Why is it important to know how to recycle your green waste?
Recycling is incredibly important because when we don’t, many environmental and economic issues may arise. Not only that, but you can actually have great success in incorporating recycling, composting and repurposing household rubbish, plastics, and green waste, making your own lives easier, richer and more enjoyable.
Food scraps are fantastic for composting, but they somehow keep making their way into landfill. Many people don’t realise that every tonne of rotting food in the landfill produces a tonne of the greenhouse gas methane which is 20 times stronger than carbon monoxide. Green waste is also a fire hazard during the summer, can create a breeding ground for rats and snakes, and can be a hazard for our water systems if mismanaged therunoff gets into our water systems.
Small steps from each of us could prevent an enormous amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and contributing to global pollution and climate change. Fortunately, there are many reviews and schemes in the works to prevent companies from manufacturing and using single-use, non-recyclable items as well as a larger push on household recycling. These initiatives could stop an estimated 2.7 billion plastic objects from entering our environment over the next twenty years.
The benefits of recycling and composting are also immense. You do not have to be a green thumb or a gardener to utilise food scraps to make your garden grow. Composting enriches soil, introduces beneficial nutrients and organisms which both stimulate the breakdown of organic matter. There are many great reasons to compost, even if you are the owner of a small, urban garden.
By screening our waste at the household level, we save enormous amounts of money on waste transportation, waste management and services, as dealing with the large amount of contamination requires more manpower, longer hours and more money. However, composting at home, and being aware of the correct way to reuse and recycle can save money coming out of your pocket too. Composting at home can save you money, particularly if you want to grow your own food or have plants, flowers or trees that need attention. By utilising your own waste, you will make your garden healthier, which will in turn allow you to grow better quality food, and so on.
Comfort and ease
It is easy to understand why some people continue to put the wrong items in the wrong bin. Their primary goal is to get rubbish and waste out of their house, and some people will do that by any means possible. As we mentioned before, the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality is common, but it is incredibly detrimental to society and our environment. There are many ways to declutter your house without resorting to throwing harmful rubbish into landfill, which include waste collection companies who do cheap, same-day collections to ensure your rubbish ends up where it is supposed to. This actually ends up being a more comfortable way to dispose of your rubbish, and it is far better for the environment.
Where does green waste go after recycling it?
It is important to understand the process of recycling, as it holds each of us more accountable for our actions and decisions. All green waste bins in NSW are delivered to waste disposal centres in Terrey Hills, where they are screened and assessed. Suitable material is then mulched, composted and matured for up to six months before it is sold back to the public (now it makes sense why you should just compost yourself, right?). Unsuitable material requires additional re-processing to make it recyclable, which costs extra money, time and resources.
Can someone help me get rid of my green waste?
If you are doing some work around the house or sprucing up the garden, it is common for the branches, trimmings and grass clippings to start to pile up. Of course the green waste service is a fortnightly service, which means that you may have an excess of waste which cannot wait for bin collection. Fortunately there are a multitude of options to get rid of your green waste, and to do so efficiently and in an environmentally-conscious way. Yards are big, and those green bins are not, so often the best bet is to have a professional waste removal expert come around and take care of that waste for you.
It is important that we take an active role in our individual eco footprints, and the first way to do that is to minimise our waste, compost, recycle and ensure that the right items are going in the right bins to make processing easier for recycling companies. However, organic waste commonly builds up, particularly when doing gardening, mowing or home renovations, to such a degree that there is simply too much to go into the green bins. When this happens, the best way to deal with it is to hire an expert team of waste management professionals who specialise in collecting your rubbish and disposing of it in the most efficient, environmentally-friendly way.