5 Recycling Myths Busted

Published On February 14, 2011

Many of us make certain presumptions when it comes to recycling products and items in our home. Recycling is a very large term in meaning and by definition and we can often get caught up with our recycling success just because we are re-using recycled items or ‘green bags‘ to do our shopping  when we could be doing a lot more. We may be creating more damage in other areas despite our claims and conscience. Sometimes we may not be doing the planet or others any good at all, with the methods that we use. Here are some busted recycling myths to help you think about making better choices.

  • The triangular symbol on the plastic container means I am using a recycled packaging. This is an identification number for recyclers to know what kind of plastic that the item is made of, normally for future recycling. This does not necessarily mean that the item was made from recycled plastics. Depending on the nature of the packaging it also may not be appropriate for local government recycling in your area. You need to know what your council can and actually does handle. Claims by manufactures and producers are large and numerous to improve their chances of you buying. Get informed. This myth is absolutely BUSTED.
  • It does not matter what I put into my local recycling bin, the council will sort it anyway. Because of the huge need for recycling in our world and the huge amount of waste created by humans, recycling has become big business and a very big task for all of us. By throwing all rubbish into your recycling bin you are creating more work and removing non-recyclable materials from recyclable waste is a huge cost. If recycling is more costly, time consuming it uses more resources and therefore may lose some of the value in the first place. All rubbish must be sorted as your local council requests into correct containers. By doing this in the first instance where it is easy and takes little effort, we save on the whole. This myth is totally BUSTED.
  • All paper products are produced from recycled paper or new growth forests so our trees are safe. Australia alone has 2 billion newspapers recycled each year, and they are only made up of 30% recycled materials today. The rest of the newspapers are made new growth forests only since 1991. Imagine the damage that was done to old growth habitats in the past, and in this case we are only using the newspaper industry as an example. There are many other industries and individuals that are a threat to our forests and we have a massive amount of previous damage to repair. This myth is again, absolutely BUSTED.
  • My plastic promotional bags are made of recycled plastic so they are environmentally friendly. The reality is that even when plastics are recycled and particularly in the case of the trillions upon billions of plastic bags that are used, disposed of and recycled, they are all made of from processes that are highly damaging to our environment. Just because a bag is made out of a recycled plastic bag does not mean that it is now suddenly friendly to the environment. That is like saying that bullet fired from a gun wont kill if it is painted pink. Recycled or not, plastic is plastic, and there is not much environmentally friendly about all but the most modern and developed plastic technologies yet. This kind of mentality does not deal with the real issues at hand. More than BUSTED.
  • Anything that is recyclable can go into my local council bin for pick up. Most local councils actually only accommodate the simplest of items. They may not be taking all the appropriate and proper measures for all items and many items that are can be recycled are being handled in the correct way. You need to find out what your council can and does handle. It is your responsibility. You can also find out other ways to hand in recycled materials to specialist collection points. You could also start one yourself. This myth as with just about all of them when it comes to recycling is BUSTED.

It seems like many companies and individuals are jumping on the “aren’t I/We fantastic because we are recycling” when actually they are not even addressing core issues or using methods that are actually dealing with the problem. By not using plastic bags for example, we are making a difference. What is the point of using a recycled bag anyway? It could be considered better but have you really made a difference? There is always a lot more to do.