REROC campaign puts a face to your recycling

Jeff Dunn and the Tumut Recycling Centre team. Photo thanks to Jack of Hearts studio.

A new campaign from the Riverina Eastern Organisation of Councils (REROC) introduces its audience to the people that sort through the items that we put in our recycling bins every day.

The ad focuses on Valmar Support Services client and Tumut Recycling Centre employee Jeff Dunn.

“I’m Jeff. I live in Tumut, and I drive to work every day,” he explains.

“I work at the Tumut Recycling Centre. I love working at Tumut Recycling, I’ve got my friends and I just love working here.

“The worst part about the job is having to deal with all of the stuff that people put into the bins that shouldn’t be in the bins. The food, needles, nappies…it makes you sick in the stomach. The smell just makes you crook.

“When people leave food in the containers it goes into landfill and then it goes to the tip, and all of the recycling with it.

“Please think of us before you put the wrong things in the recycling.”

There are also ads that feature employees at other recycling centres in the REROC region: Elouera Association client and Cootamundra Recycling employee Anthony, and Aaron at Kurrajong Recycling in Wagga.

REROC is hoping the ads will remind people – or maybe even teach them, for those who didn’t know – that when they put their rubbish in the recycling bins, it will end up in front of a person, not a machine.

“Your recycling is sorted by hand by people with disability in Wagga, Cootamundra, and Tumut,” a REROC Waste spokesperson said.

“That’s why it’s so important that we all take a little extra care with what we put in our recycling bins!

“Every fortnight we do it. Close the lid on our recycling bin, wheel it out to the kerb, and forget about it. Somehow we’ve become removed from the rest of the story.

“Sure, the recycling truck makes its way down the street, lifting bins high into the air as bottles and cartons crash, bang and rattle their way down into the truck. When the truck fills up, it returns to your local recycling facility (known as MRFs) where a bobcat scoops the contents onto a conveyor belt, from there your recycling is hand-sorted by a fantastic group of hard-working, enthusiastic and friendly workers.

“It’s important to know that people who work at the MRFs have to handle the contents of your recycling bin – including the smell of rotten food that has been sitting around for weeks, dirty nappies, needles, dead animals, household junk, and rubbish, all the stuff that wouldn’t fit in your other bins that you thought you would just toss in the recycling one to get rid of it.

“When using your recycling bin, think about how your actions might impact on the people who process your recycling. Think about the danger of needle stick injuries when used needles find their way into the bin or the contamination caused when food is put into the bin that rots and smells.”

The ad campaign was created by Jack of Hearts Studio and Embarketing, Wagga.

Did you know?

• Manufacturing paper and cardboard products from recycled material not only conserves trees, it also uses up to 50 per cent less energy and 90 per cent less water than making them from raw materials
• Both aluminium and steel can be infinitely recycled without degrading in quality
• For every 100 reams of recycled office paper that is printed doubled sided, the savings are estimated at two trees
• Although Australians use over 1 billion cartons each year, only about 1 in 5 are recycled despite recycling options being widely available
• If everyone recycled their paper it would mean 40 per cent of the current landfill would disappear. That’s right – 40 per cent of rubbish going to landfill right now is perfectly recyclable paper!
• For every 100 reams of recycled office paper that is printed doubled sided, the savings are estimated at two trees
• Food scraps is the number one contamination issue in recycling. Please make sure there is no food or oil remaining in any recycling or it can ruin the whole load! It doesn’t have to be spotlessly clean, but if it has permanent food stuck in it, then do not put it in the recycle bin.
• Always keep your recycling out of plastic bags. Only drop individual items in the bin. It might seem tidier to put the containers into a bag and then the bin but what it means is that nothing in the bag is recycled because MRFs cannot open the bags and sort through the waste.
• In one year, NSW produced 3.47 million tonnes of domestic waste. 46.5 per cent of that was recycling.

What can you recycle?

Think about putting this list on your fridge so you can easily check what you can and can’t recycle! For Tumut and Tumbarumba, our recycling goes to the Tumut Community Recycling Centre operated by Valmar Industries.

Valmar provides supported employment opportunities to people with a disability. They currently operate a range of interesting and diverse businesses in the Tumut and Yass regions.

Please recycle:
• cleaning product bottles
• detergent bottles
• shampoo/conditioner bottles
• soap pump bottles
• vitamin bottles
• berry punnets
• biscuit trays
• cake trays (plastic)
• bottles (e.g. milk, cordial, juice, soft drink)
• ice cream containers
• margarine containers
• yoghurt containers
• Drink bottles
• cans (tin, steel, aluminium)
• cleaning product bottles
• containers
• pet food cans
• aluminium cans
• aluminium baking trays
• cake trays (foil)
• cooking oil tins (up to 5 litres)
• foil (clean and rolled/scrunched into a loose ball)
• food cans
• formula tins
• boxes/cardboard (no waxed boxes like fruit boxes)
• washing powder boxes
• books
• brochures
• envelopes (including with plastic windows)
• greeting cards
• junk mail
• magazines
• newspapers
• office paper
• postcards
• paper bags
• phone books
• tissue boxes
• wrapping paper
• cartons
• toilet paper rolls
• cereal boxes
• deli/ butchers paper
• egg cartons
• juice cartons
• long life cartons (e.g. milk, juice, stocks and sauces)
• milk cartons
• paper plates (clean)
• paper towel roll
• pizza boxes

Please DO NOT recycle:

  • Aerosol spray cans
  • Pot plants
  • Vegetable punnets
  • Plastic crockery
  • Plastic containers
  • Plastic medicine bottles
  • Deodorant stick (roll on)
  • Take away food containers
  • Hard plastic packaging
  • Compact Disc (CD) containers
  • Glass jars
  • Food scraps (anything that once lived, does not belong in the Recycle bin)
  • Garden waste
  • Nappies
  • Chemicals
  • Bed linen
  • Clothes
  • Styrofoam
  • Furniture
  • Ceramics (like cups or plates)
  • Sharps
  • Meat trays
  • Scrap metal (like car parts – these can be recycled through the Waste Transfer Centre)