Tagged With recycling

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We are drowning the world in plastic. It washes onto our beaches, it sits entombed for centuries in landfills, it floats around the ocean in a cloud of microscopic particles twice the size of Texas. Most of it — 88% in Australia — never gets recycled.

Recycling it still takes 10% of the energy of making new plastic — not nothing. It would be nice to use a little less in the first place.

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One of my earliest memories is of shucking corn at the compost pile in my backyard in rural Connecticut. As much as boiling the corn, slathering it with sweet butter and eating it, the act of pulling off the husk and removing the silk is deeply ingrained in my being. We’re all taught from a young age that in order to get something we want, we have to work for it, and that was true even when it came to corn on the cob.

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Even if you do all your shopping with reusable bags, you’re going to end up with a bunch of plastic. Your bread comes in it, your toilet paper, your organic carrots and non-GMO freekeh from the bulk bin and no, it can’t be recycled with your bottles and cans. The same goes for all the plastic that swaddles your online purchases.

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You probably know you have to wipe your old computers and smartphones clean before you sell, donate, or recycle them. After all, you don’t want to give whoever ends up with your secondhand gadget access your documents, login credentials, or any personal information.

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Depending on your local recycling center, you can’t toss your toothbrush into the recycling bin. Well you can, but you’ll just be adding trash for the workers to pick out. And you shouldn’t throw your toothpaste tube in the bin either. But you can mail them to a specialised recycling center for free, with a program from Colgate and TerraCycle.

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Reusable supermarket bags are environmentally friendly, but only if you actually use them, many times. And you're probably not using the crappy "reusable" bags you got from your local Coles or Woolworths, which sit in your kitchen cabinet until you eventually throw them out.

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Over the last few years, tech companies have been under increased scrutiny to ensure that the gadgets they create are manufactured responsibly. That covers everything from where they source the minerals used to create components, through to the people working in factories, packing, shipping and recycling programs. But when you're standing in a store, cash or credit cards at the ready, how do you now your money is supporting an ethical supply chain?

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Do you have a few unused mobile phones gathering dust in your house somewhere? You're not alone: it is estimated that Australians are holding onto more than 23 million unused phones. All of these products contain valuable materials that could be returned to the supply chain via recycling. Here are seven expert tips for getting rid of unwanted e-waste in ways that will help the planet.

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Victoria's Yarra Valley region is known around the world for the high quality wines it produces. And there are quite a few breweries and distilleries there as well. But as businesses grow, they need to move to different premises. That's what happened to the popular White Rabbit brewing team, who moved to Geelong. But that left a great opportunity for Innocent Bystander, a growing, local winery to move into the brewery. And rather than pull out the beer taps, they found a way to re-use them for wine - giving them a different way to serve as well as doing their bit for the environment.

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Can you leave your recyclables dirty? A little, yes. But don't leave them filthy, a recycling professional tells MEL Magazine. While recycling plants eventually wash all the materials they recycle, a lot of it sits around first. Excess food waste can attract pests and make it more expensive to recycle things. So if you're throwing filthy containers into the recycling bin, you might do more harm than if you just threw them in the trash.

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We've all got some tech hiding at the back of a cupboard or in a box stashed under the house, in a roof space or under a bed. It usually falls in the "not needed but too good to throw away" catgegory. But what can you do with that technology? Instead of resorting to lobbing into landfill there are lots of options.

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Ever wondered how long a baby's nappy takes to fully decompose in the ocean? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the answer is an astonishing 450 years. Check out the following infographic for more estimated decomposition rates of common items of marine debris. (We bet you can't guess what man-made item survives the longest...)