T'is the season for recycling
WE ALL know what it's like to deal with rubbish around Christmas time - jamming crinkled wrapping paper into the recycling bin and cringing at the sound of glass bottles smashing together while emptying the trash.
During a previous Christmas holiday period the Southern Downs region produced about an extra 69 tonnes of recycling compared to an ordinary month of the year.
That is the equivalent of about four adult male elephants.
Southern Downs Regional Council statistics show about 203 tonnes of recycling was collected in December 2013, compared to 148 in the following May.
But it seems people are better at recycling in the summer holiday months.
In that December, only about eight tonnes of items placed into recycling bins was non-recyclable rubbish.
In May, this increased by a whopping six tonnes - the weight of an elephant - to 14 tonnes.
But there are also items that are going into the general waste that can actually be recycled.
Southern Downs Regional Council environmental health manager Tim O'Brien said about 18% of the materials residents placed into their garbage bins were recyclable.
He encouraged people to think about their recycling habits during the Christmas and New Year period.
"Council has an on-going and committed campaign to encourage recycling throughout the Southern Downs region," he said.
"Most waste facilities have recycling areas and council promotes recycling concepts through media outlets, SDRC website and SDRC social media."
The council is backing Planet Ark's "12 Do's of Christmas", which encourages people to take certain steps to reduce, reuse and recycle.
This includes buying thoughtful gifts, rather than buying for the sake of buying, using wrapping paper that can be recycled or reused from last year and preventing food wastage.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
In December 2013 compared to the following May, there was an extra:
- - 28 tonnes of mixed paper collected
- - 33 tonnes of glass collected
- - 6 tonnes of mixed plastics, and
- - 1 tonne of steel.
In December 2013, about 8 tonnes of non-recyclable rubbish was put into recycling bins. In May, this increased to 14 tonnes.
In the last financial year, 2013/14, a total 129 tonnes of non-recyclable rubbish was placed into recycling bins. That is the weight of three humpback whales.