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Established by Planet Ark in 1996, National Recycling Week is held every year during the second week of November (8 – 14 November in 2021). This year we’re celebrating its 25th anniversary so the focus is on celebrating YOUR way!

Whether your council hosts an event or trivia night, or focuses on educating residents or students on the materials that are important to your area, we encourage you to celebrate in a way that is meaningful and relevant to you.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said what can be recycled varies a great deal across Australia.

“Here in Cairns, we’re great recyclers, putting as much as 88% correct items in our recycling bins each year,’ Cr Manning said. “But there still are common mistakes we’re all making with around 1,500 tonnes of incorrect items ending up in recycling bins each year, including clothing, soft plastics, toys, electrical items, green waste and food waste.”

Placing incorrect items in the recycling can greatly impact the quality of the city’s recycling. “Some types of contamination can even harm our workers or damage our sorting machines. In the past month we’ve had some surprising items placed in our recycling bins, such as hoses, ropes, cables, building materials, toilet seats, gas bottles, motor bike helmets and even a fuel tank from a vehicle – complete with fuel.”

The council receives over 10,000 tonnes of recycling in yellow top bins each year, but surprisingly as much as 10,000 tonnes of perfectly good recycling is also being placed in the red and green lid waste bins – This means these items are not being recycled and resources literally wasted in landfill.

Following Council’s Recycle Right, Keep It Simple approach is a great place to start.

Keeping it simple

When it comes to the yellow lid recycling bin, only recycle, hard plastic bottles and containers, steel and alåuminium cans, glass bottles and jars and paper/cardboard items.

Items that do not belong in recycling bins include:

  • Soft plastics: that means no degradable, no bio durable and no compostable bags.
  • Small items: nothing smaller than a credit card.
  • Keep it safe: No gas bottles, car batteries, strapping lines, hoses, netting, wires, building materials, oil, paint, chemicals and other hazardous materials.
  • Keep it clean: no food scraps, nappies, soiled paper towel, tissues, or general waste.
  • Keep it loose, don’t bag or box your recycling.

For more information, visit Council’s Recycle Right website page and try the easy to use A-Z of waste online tool.

National Recycling Week in Cairns

National Recycling Week is an opportunity to stop and think about how people can waste less, recycle more, and keep resources in use for as long as possible. A great way to decrease your footprint is to shop local and support local producers – this helps shorten the supply chain and overall energy expenditure.

This week, Council will be helping celebrate National Recycling Week 2021 by hosting ‘Recycle Right’ pop up stalls in Cairns Central, DFO, Stockland Earlville, Smithfield, Redlynch, Raintrees and Mt Sheridan shopping centres.

Materials Recovery Facility (2021 financial year)

Material received: 12,333 tonnes
Total material recycled: 9,121 tonnes (75% of total received)
Recycling recovered:

  • Glass: 3,370 tonnes
  • Paper: 2,938 tonnes
  • Cardboard: 1,947 tonnes
  • Plastic bottles and containers: 553 tonnes
  • Aluminium cans: 93 tonnes
  • Steel cans: 220 tonnes