BENDIGO residents will have to relearn some rubbish sorting habits, as the council responds to new state and federal recycling rules.
Changes mean items such as plastic meat trays, berry punnets, biscuit trays, Tetra Pak milk and juice containers, and plastic takeaway containers must be put in landfill, rather than recycling.
City of Greater Bendigo resource recovery development coordinator Bridgette McDougall said the change came about because of government bans on exporting waste.
Read more: Stockpiles grow as recycling crisis bites
Mrs McDougall said the changes aimed to make sure what people recycled could be processed locally.
But she said, low quality plastics - such as the items above - could not be recycled locally.
Mrs McDougall said this was because plastic got weaker each time it was recycled.
"When you recycle plastic, each time you recycle it, the quality of it degrades again. But when you recycle things like metal, the quality is maintained," she said.
"So when you start with a low quality plastic ... it's really hard to do anything with it again, so that's why it's hard to recycle and find a market for it."
Mrs McDougall urged people to be aware of what plastic they were purchasing, saying alternatives were better than single use plastic.
"Plastic is a really valuable resource, and it is really good for certain types of products. But the less plastic you have, the better off you are," she said.
Mrs McDougall said Bendigo residents' most common waste mistakes were plastic bags in recycling and food and garden baste in landfill.
Contamination accounts for about 15 per cent of what recycle contractors at East Bendigo receive.
Mrs McDougall said staff were forced to sort through this waste manually, to divert it to the right place.
She said people appeared to put items they hoped could be recycled, such as washing baskets, old toilet seats, e-waste and clothing, in their blue bins.
Mrs McDougall urged people to avoid putting food and garden waste in their general waste bin, as it produced methane - a potent greenhouse gas - when it broke down in landfill.
"It's about 24 times more potent than carbon dioxide, so it's quite a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions," she said.
"It's not good for the landfill and our local environment.
"That's why we really push people to not just put [food and garden waste] in the general waste bin because they can't be bothered to take out the packaging."
Find out more about recycling rules at: bit.ly/2ZqzB2Y
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