The One Item You Must Recycle! ♻️ Podcast Ep. 10 Don’t Be A Waster
The One Item You Must Recycle! ♻️ Podcast Ep. 10 Don’t Be A Waster
In this episode – Aodhan discusses the one material we absolutely must recycle – as it is easily recyclable, saves lots of energy and can be recycled over and over again. What is it? – aluminium. We also talk about recycling aluminium foil or tin foil.
Transcript – The One Item You Must Recycle!
Hello and welcome to another edition of our regular podcast on the wonderful world of recycling Recycle: Don’t be a Waster. In today’s podcast we are going to you know we’re going to cover if the number one if you had to list the absolute number one item that everybody should try to recycle that’s easy to recycle and that really we have no excuse not to recycle and that is what we will cover today so getting straight into it. You know when this applies to Australia but pretty much everywhere if you absolutely have to recycle one item what should it be I’m going to say aluminium or aluminum of course as north Americans call it. The One Item You Must Recycle!
It’s a very common material. It’s incredibly useful it’s very versatile it’s I suppose that’s those are the reasons why we use it in so many areas you know from soft drink cans to tin foil um aluminium foil to kick containers these sort of things aluminium is sort of everywhere in the modern consumer environment you know and I think that it has many pluses I think as in packaging material clearly it has some negatives which we’ll get into but it has so many pluses.
It conducts electricity, it’s um it’s very clean to use its light it is non-toxic it doesn’t break down into stuff such as micro plastics and it is a cost-effective um very malleable material that can be used in a huge range of usage so fundamentally it is probably the easiest material outside maybe of cardboard potential you could even argue it’s more beneficial to recycle aluminium but it is probably the easiest material to recycle or one of them.
You know cans soft drink cans can easily be put into your um into your commingle bin and they can be recycled in that manner and i think even back to the very first recycling project that I was part of was in primary school and I’ll not tell you how long ago that was let’s pretend it was only you know 15 years ago we’ll say but yeah the very first recycling project I was part of was involved in recycling aluminium cans we had crushed them the kids really enjoyed the crushing you know that process and then you would you would recycle them so it’s a super easy system it’s almost unlike plastics it’s almost you know completely recyclable indefinitely. The One Item You Must Recycle!
You can keep recycling aluminium over and over again so it doesn’t require additional aluminium to be added and it can be just reused and reused and it does not deteriorate so really we have no excuse whatsoever to be throwing aluminium cans or those sort of items into the trash um that’s the first thing we’ll cover I said why it’s so easy but I think what’s even more interesting is why it’s so important why is it so important to recycle aluminium well I suppose firstly we don’t want to use more aluminium we don’t want to and in this instance we’ll go a little bit into the process as to how aluminium is manufactured so aluminium is made from a material called bauxite through a process called smelting where bauxite looks very little it doesn’t look like the finished product at all. The One Item You Must Recycle!
Smelting it it’s basically heating it to large temp very high temperatures and forming it and that takes an awful lot of energy the actual volume or amounts of energy it takes it’s sort of mind-boggling I am I’ve read in numerous areas that in Australia alone smelting of bauxite which you know for most people would be an after afterthought is equivalent to about 10 to 11 percent of our total energy usage in this country and when you think that’s to make items such as you know drinks cans and equivalent it is it is amazing it’s so that’s eleven percent we estimate of energy usage but it’s also even higher in greenhouse gases where we estimated around about 15 to 16 percent of greenhouse gases emitted.
Check out our podcast here on how industry benefits recycling.
So when you know obviously anyone who is it’s almost impossible to hide away from the media nowadays talking about you know emissions targets and greenhouse you know greenhouse gases and reducing emission emissions and these sort of things so clearly recycling aluminium is a really good place to look if you can you know if we improve our recycling processes if we can strip out more and more aluminium from um from waste and recycle it it’s almost a no-brainer it’s it’s something that’s so obvious that that we should be doing to even put it into comparison the facts I have here are to recycle aluminium using you can recycle 20 aluminium cans using the same energy it would take to manufacture one new can so it’s almost a one to twenty ratio and you know that really shows that if we can just focus on that a we’re saving huge amounts of money for the economy b we are not throwing perfectly good materials into the trash and into landfill where they’ll just be wasted and thirdly we are we’re saving huge amounts of emissions which you know makes all you know our targets and all these sort of things much easier without massively disrupting our way of life and economy. The One Item You Must Recycle!
To me it’s almost it’s a home run or a slam dunk um and you might be able to tell I’ve been watching a little bit of American sports recently with those terms so I think those are the things that we really would hammer home I think it’s if you’re making the argument for recycling it’s almost like you can’t really argue against it one area where I will say that we are much worse at recycling um is in the concept of aluminium foil tin foil that we use for packaging foods you know when you’re cooking items roast dinners etc we use them in huge proportions and fundamentally aluminium foil is the same product give or take as an aluminium can just less thick etc but I would argue I would say that our efficiency and our outcomes in recycling aluminium foil are much worse than recycling the cans you know I think there’s a real misunderstanding as to how you can recycle them where you can recycle them and even if they are recyclable so you know I’ll cover that briefly now.
I think it’s really good to know that in your commingle bin in Australia that’s the yellow bin for bottles and cans etc you can place your clean and we reduces clean your clean aluminium foil so basically it is the same material fundamentally as cans and so that’s why it can go into the same bin the guidance is to scrunch it up if you just throw in small pieces of aluminium foil tinfoil it is unlikely to get recycled because the machinery will find it harder to pick it out but you if it’s clean you scrunch it up into a ball and just throw it in unbagged so you don’t put it into a garbage bag into your commingle bin the yellow bin and it will be recycled just alongside the cans so that is it’s a super simple way to do it and it is something that I think a lot of people are not aware of one of the new ones we’ll cover here is that you get into the area as to is it actually tinfoil is the material in your hand actually aluminium foil or is it mixed with plastic you know as in a packaging.
Almost think of a crisp packet and you know are you doing the right thing by you know how do you know which is which and which should you put in the recycling bin so as a rule of thumb they say you know this is I’ve read this on a couple different websites if you try to scrunch it up into a ball if it stays in the scrunched shape so if the aluminium foil stays scrunched up that is the great likelihood who it is that is aluminium foil tinfoil if it expands again and moves away from the scrunched up shape it’s almost certainly a mixed material with um with plastic potentially so maybe a plastic covered with an aluminium cover which again we don’t we don’t want to include in this category and should not be put into the recycling bin so yeah I think I hope this has helped us I think if we are pushing recycling projects aluminium is certainly you know it’s an easy it’s an easy discussion it’s an easy argument it’s clean um it’s not that unpleasant you know whereas obviously get into food recycling and things can be which can pop people off and I think you know you think back to when you were at school you probably enjoyed recycling the cans so there’s no reason not to be doing it now um okay so we will leave it there I think in some of our future podcasts we’ll also cover you know some of these easy recycling they’re not hacks obviously they’re just common sense in many regards but we will cover more of these and hopefully you know dispel some disinformation and try to answer some of the the more common questions that we hear at waster so we leave it there um have a great week and of course recycle don’t be a waster