Recycling trial picks up pace in lockdown

Sydneysiders increasingly turning to pilot program to recycle tricky items.

Sydneysiders are increasingly turning to a City of Sydney pilot program to recycle tricky items and continue diverting waste away from landfill during lockdown.

Use of the RecycleSmart pilot has increased by almost 50 per cent since the state government issued stay-at-home orders in June.

Eight tonnes of waste have been diverted from landfill since the start of the year, with three tonnes collected in the past two months alone.

The city is trialling the household collection service for 12 months. The service provides on-demand pick-ups for tricky to recycle goods like batteries, soft plastics and wearable clothes.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the city was delighted to be able to provide people with alternative and safe methods of recycling, even during the stay at home period.

“With libraries and community centres closed, recycling events postponed, and all of us required to stay at home, there are fewer avenues for people to recycle these tricky items, which is why pilot schemes like RecycleSmart are so important.”

The service provides contactless pick-up of items direct from the doorstep or apartment building lobby, meaning people don’t have to leave their home to recycle items like batteries, polystyrene and plastic bags.

“We know that diverting as many items as possible away from landfill is vital to combat climate change,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Waste and waste management is responsible for around 10 per cent of our local area’s carbon emissions. Every kilogram of rubbish we can divert away from landfill brings us closer to our goal of net zero emissions by 2035.

“We know people find it tricky to recycle items like soft plastics, light bulbs, polystyrene, small electronics and batteries, so this pilot scheme is designed to stop them ending up in landfill.

“People using the scheme can subscribe free and have their items collected from their doorstep every month, on a day of their choice. Items are sorted, recorded and delivered to our Alexandra Canal Depot for recycling.”

Since the trial started late last year, more than 3,050 bags have been collected in almost 1,300 pick-ups, diverting more than eight tonnes of waste away from landfill, with soft plastics the most popular item recycled.

The aim of the trial is to make it more convenient for people to recycle common household items the City of Sydney doesn’t currently collect from the kerbside bins.

“Some people may be surprised to learn that plastic bags, chip packets, bread bags and other soft plastics can’t be recycled in the yellow bin. But with this service they’re collected and turned into items like park benches and outdoor gym equipment,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We’re the biggest council to trial this service, reflecting both our commitment to sustainability and to our residents, who repeatedly tell us how important recycling and the environment are to them.

“This free subscription service allows you to set and forget a day for your tricky waste to be collected every month.”

RecycleSmart CEO and co-founder Giorgio Baracchi said he was pleased to see more people signing up to the free subscription service.

“RecycleSmart’s free subscription has removed all barriers to recycling tricky waste and we’re so excited to see City of Sydney residents jump on board. Our contactless power pick-up service offers residents peace of mind even during lockdown restrictions, knowing they are diverting waste from landfill in a Covid-safe way,” he said.

The City of Sydney is subsidising the scheme for its residents, who can book using an app or online.

Items that can be picked up include soft plastics, wearable clothes, polystyrene, light bulbs, small electronics and batteries.

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