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As Sydney siders, We put our rubbish out every other day which is magically gone in the mornings without a second thought right? While it seems it just disappears into thin air, actually a lot of hard work goes into the collection, re-cycling and disposal of all our unwanted rubbish.

Although these days, a lot more people are waking up to the necessity of separating recyclable goods, a recent audit showed that another 17.5% of household waste could have been recycled in Sydney.

So where does your recyclable waste actually go, and what happens to it?

First of all it’s transported to a facility for reprocessing. At the facility metals, paper, glass, plastic, food and garden waste are separated. Steel and aluminium are re-purposed back into bikes, boats and planes with no loss in quality.

Paper and cardboard is re-purposed back into newspapers and packaging, with every one tonne recycled saving 13 trees! Glass is infinitely recyclable, often being cleaned and re-used many times over. It’s also an eco-friendly substitute for sand and cycle/pedestrian pathways.

Plastic can be re-fashioned into almost anything you want it to be. It’s often shredded down into flakes and used in the textile industry for filling sleeping bags, loft insulation, duvets and even fleeces, hats and business suits! Garden and food waste is turned into high quality compost, great to be put back into feeding your new plants.

How can you help the recycling process?

There are many small changes you can make to improve the efficiency of the recycling process. For example; removing bottle caps before you put them in the garbage will greatly improve the recycling process. Sorting machines at the plants can’t process these, so things will be really slowed down if left on.

Make sure you check out which items are recyclable, and which are not. Non-recyclable items mixed in with recyclables, can contaminate the whole lot and have to be taken to the landfill.

Re-purpose or re-use items before casting them aside. We live in the age of the internet, offering so many ideas of how to re-purpose things into useful, and even cool looking new items. Check out the Rubbish Taxi Facebook page to see what weird and wonderful things people have made out of old junk.

What does Rubbish Taxi do with your waste?

At The Rubbish Taxi we collect domestic and commercial waste from around Sydney. Anything that can be recycled, reused or restored — we will find it a use. Recyclable items will be a sent to a facility.

  • Metal is sorted and divided into different types.
  • Paper and cardboard is sorted and pressed, then sent to VISY recycling company.
  • We cut up any wood and donate it as free firewood.
  • Mattresses are stripped and any metal taken out for recycling.
  • Any trash we think we can turn into a new treasure; we salvage and up cycle, raising money for our charitable partners Giant Steps. Every three months we have a bag-a-bargain sale, where we sell all our salvaged items, with proceeds going towards Giant Steps.

What is the Government doing to help?

Following on from the announcement of New York banning the use of polystyrene foam packaging from the middle of this year, the ACT Government Australia is considering the ban also. Polystyrene containers are non-recyclable and non-degradable, so take up a significant amount of landfill space.

In NSW the Government is set to introduce a drinks container deposit scheme. In a bid to clean up local beaches and parks the Government is bringing out a cash for container scheme. Details are still being worked out, but it is thought a rebate of around 10 cents per item will be offered.

How else can you make a difference?

If recycling is just not enough for and you would like to help out the environment even more, come down and join one of our Clean up Australia Days. It’s usually held over a week in March every year, but if you missed it this year, it’s possible to sign up to an everyday clean- up site.

If you want to organise it yourself, register your intended clean-up site, and promote amongst friends and the community. We will help by providing the clean-up kits and lots of friendly information.

With a little thought by all of us we can help to preserve our natural resources, and prevent the depletion of raw materials. Recycling and re-purposing will reduce the amount sent to landfill sites, which are overflowing, drastically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions — creating a healthier future for the next generation.

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