Why is it so hard to recycle?


Posted by: M4

16th Mar 2011 08:45pm

I work for a large shopping centre which understandably has a large output of waste. Despite my best efforts to improve recycling or diversion from landfill, i am still only at 19% of total output.

Our recyclables offer ranges from cardboard and paper, steel, shrinkwrap recycling, fluoro tubes and co-mingled recycling (cans, bottles, hard plastics etc).

I have signposted the Centre, provided training and generally improved awareness both front and back of house, but the commitment is not there - mainly from the retailers who fail to participate.

My primary opportunity is to capture the hundreds of tonnes of cardboard being sent to landfill, but I need ideas and inspiration on how to capture the minds of the tenants within the Facility.

I would love your feedback - and ill report back on successes if i can implement any of your strategies

Comments 15

Sil sil
  • 16th Apr 2014 10:55am

I'm horrified to see the increased amount of packaged items in our woolworths! Went to my local outlet to find all deli section is now prepacked! More plastic, even small plastic tubs if prepacked apples, cucumbers etc are filling the shelves! When I went to the USA they have tiny water bottles equivalent to having 2 shots for when you need that sip of water, ridiculous! More rubbish & unnecessary waste, who ever thought if this "convenient" style of packaging is killing the planet

  • 10th Sep 2013 08:11am

Put bins in the actual stores and if you say landfill will eventually overtake us plus I have a refilling of ink cartridges and replacement toner. That alone with cartridge throw out would fill 10 plus MCG'S over.

So if you could help me with cartridges and toners I'd much appreciate mainly toners thanks Sam.

  • 20th May 2012 12:16am

It's been a year... Diversion has increased to 48.8% not bad for a few signs and getting into the ears of a few key players... Still some work to do to continue diversion, ensure longevity of my results and introduce more recycling streams. Metals was a hit and now waste cooking oil is next. Still only 8% diversion from my food court though... I think the language barrier is posing as a temporary roadblock. How do i relate to and What are the best ways to communicate across Asian languages to promote advantages of recycling?

  • 19th May 2012 05:40pm

The first thing I thought of when even just reading the title of your blog is the sad fact that people are lazy. There are also those who just don't care or sadly are ignorant of what actually happens as a consequence of items not being recycled. Perhaps some signs could be put up showing the benefits of recycling and the sad reality when items aren't

  • 23rd Sep 2011 08:33am

I think that people just find it easier to throw it in the bin than take it to the recycling centre, folding down boxes, washing out tins, plastic bottles. Whilst living in Canada I learnt that they paid to take recycling, not a lot, and it helps you to do more recycling.

  • 4th Jul 2011 10:47am

people are generally lazy, prefer instant gratification and are short sighted
if they cannot see the immediate benefit to themselves they frequently cant be bothered.

  • 12th Oct 2014 04:13pm

I agree you can purchase bins for inside use for recycling and this is maybe an idea as it is easier for people to recycle then.

  • 24th Jun 2011 06:05pm

My son grew up recycling mainly paper & glass because plastics were considered to take too much energy to recycle than make from scratch -- incidentally I'm in Perth, Western Australia. But now that he's working in Houston, Tx he can't recycle glass bottles and as it goes against his grain to throw them out he's collecting them hoping to find some place that will!
I volunteer at a charity op-shop that is trying to get all volunteers to recycle; but too many say that they're too old to change their ways. We have a yellow-lidded recycling bin outside just near the back door and at a guess a third of us use it but . . .

  • 16th Jun 2011 08:38am

You would think that people would want to recycle because it saves them money on paying to go to the tip or buying rubbish stickers....
In my city where I live we have to pay for our rubbish stickers. For 5kg of waste it will cost about $2.80 per sticker....I tell you now when you pay that much for disposing of your rubbish you will want to start recycling.
Maybe if the retailers are aware of the cost of taking their rubbish to the landfill it may change their views on recycling.

With more businesses being made to cut back in different areas in their budgets, this could be an area where savings could be made..

  • 3rd Apr 2014 10:16am

I hope they don't charge for bags that you put re-cycle stuff in that you can't re-use yourself and if necessary they will come and collect for you. Otherwise some people will just hoard in their yards encouraging mice and rats.
I know some people who have an old farm that originally belonged to another relative. If they want to put a bin out they have to take it out to the main road....or pay to dump it at the dump. They bag it up, bring it back to their metro home and put in their bin. They bag all their recycle stuff separately. The re-use what they can as many times as they can - often until it can no longer be used at all.
If they can do it - and I know they do - I have seen it being unloaded into the bins this end just as I arrived and they didn't know I was coming. I only went around to check their letterbox as I thought they cwere coming home the next day.

  • 17th May 2011 12:02pm

I think the idea above about rewarding those that do is a good place to start. It is so hard to get people to recycle and I dont know why. I recycle everything I can and its not difficult at all. I would guess that these people do not recycle at home either otherwise they would know its not hard. I have some friends and a couple of family members that dont recycle either and I am often on their case. They dont even have a recycle bin. I find they come up with some sad excuses like i never got a recycle bin. I tell them then ring the council you are entitled to one and they are free. In June in my area we will be getting a third bin for organics, garden waste ect and i am finding people are not impressed and just think its in the to hard basket. i think its great as long as people use the right bins for the right stuff. They dont like the idea because you carnt put normal plastic bags in this new bin. You will have to buy recyclable plastic bags or wrap your scraps in newspaper. My gosh they make it sound like such a drama. I have been saving my newspapers for a couple of months in preparation for this and have advised them to do the same. People are just lazy and selfish and not thinking of our planet and future generations. How long can we just put everything into landfill. I have a compost for my garden and all my fruit and vege scraps, eggshells,egg cartons, lawn clippings go in there and make a great fertilizer for my garden and costs me nothing. The world better get their act together and start trying to take better care of our planet and wildlife its not going to last forever otherwise. Guess I will keep trying to change the people around me and never ever give up. I wish you luck with your endeavor. Please dont give up keep trying the world needs more people like you. x

  • 3rd Apr 2014 10:06am
I think the idea above about rewarding those that do is a good place to start. It is so hard to get people to recycle and I dont know why. I recycle everything I can and its not difficult at all. I...

Port Adelaide Enfield Council (in SA) actually supplies free small green bags for you to put food of any type in to put in your large green waste bin. The also supply small "green" buckets with handles" with a hinged lid that that the small "green waste" bags fit into. You simply lift the full bag out of your little bucket, tie it and put it in your big green bin. I had 3 compost "fenced" heaps that we used by rotation which were used in our large garden prior to me moving to the above named council area into a small unit. There was originally a family of 4 in the house on a large block - too much for one person.
I cannot understand why so many people do not bother to re-cycle their cans and bottles in SA when they get a refund of 10 cents each for them. Admittedly I do see less around now than when the refund was only 5 cents. If you can't be bothered taking them to a depot why not donate them to a charity. Either the Lions Club or Rotary (I cannot remember which one) in some cases will come and collect them from you if you donate them. I live in an area with an older age group. A volunteer collects the bottles and cans from one pick-up point (one person's garage) one a month. Apparently they also receive a very small amount from a luge supply of beer bottles - probably the value of the glass - it recycles the glass and the organisation gets a few dollars funds over a period of time. If you don't wish to donate them to charity maybe you and some of your neighbours could come to an arrangement that when between you there is a large supply of them, you as a group or individual could pack them up and take them to a depot, and hopefully share the money received.

  • 19th Apr 2011 05:40pm

As is stated above, it's people being lazy. They think, why go to the effort of putting our waste into seperate bins, when I can do it faster by just putting it into the one bin. It all comes down to the shop owners being inactive an un-enthusiastic about putting in the little bit of extra effort. They think that because they are paying rent, they are paying someone else to worry about it.
As said above, adding an inititive like a sticker for the window, or promoting the businesses that you actively see using the correct bins in the centre's newsletter etc will encourage them to do better. Imagine if you had a sign in the centre singling out the top 5 recyclers in the centre- that would be free positive publicity for them, and it would only take up a small amount of space in your shopping centre, but would encourage them to do the right thing

  • 18th Apr 2011 06:32pm

Laziness. My work is the same. I hound and hound people and will even take their waste home with me. But I still find things in their bin that could be recycled.

  • 16th Mar 2011 09:53pm

People are shortsighted and dont usually look long term, An incentive may work, single out retailers that do recycle and reward them with an environment logo or sticker or whatever. Customers tend to support those companies that have enviromental strategies or who promote sustainability ( well so they say). Good luck, hope to hear positive feedback from you in your endeavour. There should be more people like you involved in industry

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