Can I recycle my coffee cup?
The short answer is no. Disposable coffee cups have a thin plastic liner that means the recycling facilities cannot process them, therefore they all end up in landfill. The plastic lids can be recycled however, a better option is to bring your own reusable coffee cup, which is supported by most vendors on campus. Some even provide a discount for bringing your own cup.
Does my recycling end up going to landfill anyway?
No. This is a common misconception and is entirely incorrect.
The recycling process works as follows:
1. Staff and students place recyclable items in the correct bin.
2. Cleaning staff collect the recycling, ensure it is not contaminated and place the recyclables in the recycle skip for collection by the waste contractor. If the recycle bin contamination rate is higher than 10% it is disposed of as waste to landfill by the cleaners, so it is important that staff and students do their bit to minimise contamination.
3. JCU's waste contractors collect the recycling and transport it to the local Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), where recyclables are sorted, baled and sent for recycling.
JCU receives monthly reports from our waste contractors for the Cairns and Townsville campuses showing the total waste sent to landfill and total recycling. We also get a report from the MRF on the breakdown of the recycling and amount of general waste in the recycling. This way we can ensure that the recycling is actually occurring once it leaves JCU.
What types of plastic can I recycle?
Hard plastic items that contain a recycle symbol with the numbers 1-7 can be recycled in the regular yellow recycle bin. A good rule of thumb is that if you can scrunch it up in your hand, then it is not recyclable in the normal recycle bin. TropEco will soon be implementing a recycle hub on both campuses which will allow recycling of soft plastic items such as plastic bags, food wrappers, bubble wrap and many other soft plastic items or you can take them to the Woolworths on the Townsville campus for recycling. Please ensure all plastic items these are free from food scraps or liquids when recycling.
I just saw the cleaner put the recycling in the waste bin. Aren't they meant to be recycling it?
We are working closely with our cleaning staff to ensure they are well informed of the process of recycling at JCU. Cleaning staff are a critical stakeholder in our attempt to reach the aspirational target of 70% recycling (currently 20%), so ensuring cleaning staff understand the process and support the program is a priority for our campaign.
In some cases cleaning staff will place recycling in the general waste if the bin is contaminated with 10% or more of non-recyclable items. We work closely with our cleaning staff on how to identify and deal with contaminated recycling. This helps to ensure that the entire truckload of recycling is not rejected when it gets to the recycling facility due to a high contamination rate.
If you have any concerns about a member of our cleaning staff please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.