2018 Media Releases

Recycling audit shows plastic not fantastic

01 November 2018


Plastic bags and soft plastic remain the largest problem items in recycling bins, a survey of 1,500 bins in Willoughby City Council has found.

As part of an EPA-funded check of randomly selected recycling bins, Willoughby City Council has twice inspected the same 1,500 bins and found that plastic bags, thin plastics (glad wrap, food wrappers), bagged recycling, tissues, napkins and textiles (clothes and shoes) to be the problem items that shouldn’t be in recycling bins.

“What is positive is that when council officers spoke to householders, they were keen to improve and get their recycling on track,” Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney said.

“Many people said they just didn’t know they shouldn’t put their recycling in plastic bags, but our message is ‘keep it loose’ – your recyclable items need to go in the bin loose, not in plastic bags.

“Residents are keen to get on board with improving recycling and we have work to do as a Council to ensure residents are informed about how best to recycle,” she said.

In the first survey round in August, 227 bins contained items that were not recyclable. In the second round a month later, 262 bins had unsuitable items.

Bins were given either a red or green tag, based on the inspection results, outlining which items were incorrect or congratulating the householder on their recycling.

University of NSW research found that 3 out of 4 people believe the contents of recycling bins isn’t being beneficially recycled, however, all acceptable material is processed and recycled.

“It’s more important now than ever to recycle. If in doubt, leave it out,” Mayor Giles-Gidney said.

A third and final audit of the same 1,500 bins began October 22.

Residents can find detailed recycling information on the Willoughby City Council website.

Or pick up a Recycling Guide (in English, Korean and Simplified Chinese) from Council offices on Level 4, 31 Victor Street, Chatswood or email env.educators@willoughby.nsw.gov.au

Other unsuitable items found during the checks:

  • Coffee cups
  • Polystyrene/styrofoam
  • Metal (eg tap fittings, pan, paint tins)
  • Wood
  • Food
  • Other glass (eg plate glass)
  • Ceramics
  • Building materials (eg concrete, concrete bags)
  • Vegetation
  • E-waste

Yellow-lidded Recycling Bin - Acceptable and Non-Acceptable Items

Media Contact
Acting Marketing and Events Manager
Phone: 9777 7703
Mobile: 0455 061 700
Email: Samantha.Connor@Willoughby.nsw.gov.au 

For non media related enquiries contact Willoughby City Council on 9777 1000 or email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au