Wishing waste would go away

New research shows Australians are a nation of ‘wishcyclers’ as more than half of us (51%) admit to putting waste in a recycling bin even if we’re not sure it’s recyclable.

According to research from Nestlé, a third (34 per cent) of people think it’s better to put all waste in the recycling bin than in the rubbish, while one in five (19 per cent) believe materials in the recycling bin will all get sorted correctly once it is collected.

Nestlé corporate affairs head, Margaret Stuart, said despite the good intentions of wishcyclers, these actions can have significant consequences.

“Our research shows that 98% of people agree that recycling is something we all should do.

“However, if we’re not recycling right it can be quite problematic. Wishcycling can lead to genuinely recyclable materials being so contaminated that they end up sent to landfill, resulting in a lost opportunity for the waste to be turned into a resource.”

The study also reveals another cause for concern: over-confidence. 67 per cent of people claim to be very confident on how to recycle right, yet 87% are unwittingly putting one or more non-recyclable item in their recycling bin.

“We understand that consumers find recycling confusing, which is why we want to help people to remember to recycle – and to recycle right,” said Stuart continued.

“Be sure to check for the Australasian Recycling Label, which provides on pack guidance on which bin to recycle in. It also provides any additional instructions, such as scrunching, rinsing, flattening, to ensure the material is recycled properly.”

The research showed that 85 per cent of Aussies agree that the Australasian Recycling Label is key to recycling right, providing clear guidance on how to recycle

Top tips to remember to recycle right:

  • Check it before you chuck it: always look for the Australasian Recycling Label to know which bin to recycle in
  • Drop off soft plastics: collect soft plastics and drop them instore at a REDcycle collection point, available in most Woolworths and Coles
  • If in doubt, chuck it out: while it may seem counterintuitive, if you’re unsure if something is recyclable, put it in the rubbish bin.

Nestlé is committed to rolling out the Australasian Recycling Label on all locally made products to help consumers know how to recycle right. Nestlé is committed to making 100 per cent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

Te company also asked people if they put these household items in their recycling bin. Here are the results: 

Item % of ppl placing item in the recycling bin Can it go in your kerbside recycling bin?
Pizza boxes 67% Pizza boxes can only be recycled if they are free from grease and food. You may be able to put the clean lid in your recycling, but not the greasy base.
Plastic cutlery 36% No, the size and shape mean they can’t be recycled, so you have to put them in the rubbish bin. Remember to pack your own and you can avoid needing it at all!
Aluminium foil 34% Yes if it is scrunched to the size of a golf ball or larger.
Plastic straws 28% No, straws are too small to be sorted properly. Put them in your rubbish bin – or better yet, buy reusable straws.
Reusable shopping bags 27% No, soft plastics can’t go in your kerbside bin but they can be recycled if you drop them in an in-store REDcycle bin.
Lolly or chip packet 17% No, soft plastics can’t go in your kerbside bin but they can be recycled if you drop them in an in-store REDcycle bin.
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