Inside Scoop: Our Recycling Collection Point

A few months ago began our journey of miscellaneous waste collection. Our ever-growing list of accepted items now includes electronic-waste such as old phones, chargers, cables (and lots more), toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes, cleaning bottles and aerosol cans, CDs, batteries, clothing and shoes, pens and markers. 

If you’ve been in the shop, you may have noticed plastic bins lined up on a shelf often overflowing with used items ready for a second life. These materials are not suited to the ACT’s curb-side recycling. They (sadly) end up in landfill, whether or not you took the care and time to dispose of them in your recycling bin. In fact, at Local Press we also suffer from the “just in case it caaaaaan be recycled” syndrome (that’s not really a thing, don’t google it. Or do, maybe it is a thing). If in doubt, put it in the rubbish. Don’t run the risk of contaminating the rest of the recycling bin…you would compromise your previous efforts.  

You may ask yourself the question, “where do these items go, who recycles them, into what?” Read on.

We became a community drop-off point for Terracycle’s waste recycling programs because we wanted to offer our locals an easy way to do the right thing. We then do the hard work for you. Once we reach the minimum weight requirement for shipping (enough to offset carbon emissions from transport), we package up the contents in a recycled box and ship them to Terracycle AU, in Victoria. These supposedly get transformed into public park benches, outdoor jungle gyms and all kinds of useful creations that make us better off. However, since private companies run the recycling programs we partake in (for example, Colgate funds the Oral Care recycling program), and since all materials collected may contain different grades and even composites of plastic, we suspect a large variety of final products are manufactured with the items collected. Terracycle offers all kinds of recycling programs for which you can find drop-off points all over Canberra – eyeglass stores, schools, community centres… Have a quick search on their site’s interactive map to find out where you can dispose of your used goodies responsibly. 

Electronics, CDs, batteries and ink cartridges are dropped off at our local Officeworks. We used to get raised eyebrows every time we walked in with a massive bag or box of e-waste, but now they know us and expect to have their sorting and untangling work cut out for them when we visit. 

Just like our soft plastics and organic waste, we run these programs during our free time. We are more than happy to do it since it not only gives us a rush of feel-good endorphins for having done ‘good’, but it allows us to give you that same feeling too. To make our job easier, we do beg that you read the list of accepted materials on each bin when you drop items off, as we spend a lot of time sorting through the stuff we get and chucking out what can’t be given another go at life as a plastic product. Trust me, I also wish everything that was ever made could be made again, but for now all we’ve got is what’s on that handy list of accepted items. Please respect it. AND PLEASE DO bring us your used items, it’ll make you feel goooood, guaranteed!

Oliva St-Laurent