Recycling has been a growing concern among Australians for many years. Whether it is in the home or at work, people are increasingly putting in the effort to help protect and preserve the environment.
Public parks are an area where members of the local community can spend time socialising, playing sport and coming together – when it comes to recycling and keeping a clean environment, public parks should be treated the same as the home and work place. After all, you wouldn’t throw your rubbish on the floor at home!
Keeping a park clean is a collective responsibility that all park visitors and community members should contribute to. If everyone is mindful to throw their rubbish away, this goes a long way in ensuring these public spaces are a pleasant and enjoyable place to spend time, for everybody. This is why providing the necessary recycling and waste disposal bins is so important.
Australia has one of the highest waste generation per capita rates in the whole world – the average Australian produces approximately 2 tonnes of waste per year! If this waste is not disposed and recycled properly, it ends up going to landfills and can cause severe damage to the environment.
While many public parks have implemented recycling bins, the lack of clear visuals and guidance on each bin’s intended use is contributing towards the improper use of these bins, resulting in recyclables ending up in landfills.
For this reason, providing accessible, clearly marked recycling bins and bin enclosures in public parks is crucial. A park that is clean, well-kept and provides effective recycling and waste points allows people to enjoy them to their full potential, keeping our parks preserved for years to come.
Keeping Australia’s Parks Clean and Rubbish Free
The NSW Department of Environment and Conservation reports that according to a Beverage Industry Environment Council survey, nearly 50% of people say they litter because they’re too lazy or there is no bin available. The report also states that ‘standard colours and clear signage are essential for running successful public place recycling collection services. The signs should communicate by colour, symbols and words.’
Without providing identifiable recycling bins in parks, it is likely that people will continue to litter and use the incorrect waste disposal bins. However, by simply placing easily identifiable litter and recycling bins strategically in public parks, we can help to provide a solution to this issue and contribute to a cleaner public space and more sustainable environment.
Additionally, recycled products are now being made into recycled plastic lumber, for pieces including picnic tables, benches, security bollards and even drinking fountains. At Draffin we’re proud to offer a wide range of street and park furniture that are now made from recycled materials – link to product page.
We are moving in the right direction…
According to MRA Consulting Group’s State of Waste 2016 report, in Australia, almost 60% of waste is now recycled. While it is positive to note we are recycling more than half of our waste, 40% of our waste is still ending up in landfill.
There are statistics that show a positive trend towards recycling adoption with recycling rates steadily increasing since 2005, reflecting a decline in the amount of waste going to landfills.
To keep this positive trend moving in the right direction we need to ensure that recycling bins are placed where they will be easily accessed by the public, and also, that the bins used are appropriately labelled and make it easy for people disposing waste to establish what needs to go where.
Local Recycling Issues
Oftn recycling bins are there, but they simply are not being used as intended.
The City of Ballarat has recognised that their community has not been using recycling bins correctly. The Courier reports that almost 18% of what their residents put in their yellow-lid public recycle bins actually ends up going to landfill, after it was recycled incorrectly.
According to the article, a spokeswoman for the city of Ballarat confirmed that they were seeing plastic bags, toys and clothing wrongly placed into the yellow lidded recycling bins.
Through the implementation of informative recycling bins, with clear images and symbols, it may be possible to educate users and help decrease the amount of waste that goes to the landfill from in-proper recycling.
The Victorian Government has conducted extensive research on the recycling habits of Melbourne residents, which revealed that while most people are generally very enthusiastic about recycling, a combination of situational and knowledge barriers can affect how well they recycle.
The confusion arises when recycling bins in public parks are not distinguished and lack labels/markings, which can result in incorrect disposal or people simply ignoring the option because they lack the proper information.
Providing Clear Labelling Guidelines
We know that implementing recycling bins into public parks is important, but how can we encourage good recycling habits and ensure the public use them properly?
To clear up confusion when it comes to public recycling, we need to help make our bins easy for people to use. One solution is to provide clear and informative guidelines on our bins to avoid confusion, and most importantly, unnecessarily sending recyclable items to the landfill.
Research at the Univeristy of Melbourne found that there was a definite trend in positive recycling rates when recycling bins labels were both clear and unobstructed. They found an average of just over 10% of recyclables were ending up in landfill bins when signage was fully visible, versus a massive 25% when there were no clear labels or they were obscured.
It is important we are using identifiable visuals that inform park visitors exactly what goes in each bin.
- Specific colours associated with recycling
- Product specific images and wording
- Including the universal symbol for recycling
Draffin Street Furniture provides a range of recycling bin enclosures that have clear pictures and guides on what rubbish should be placed in each bin. Below are some examples of Draffin’s effective recycling options.
An example of an ideal design that is a marked, colour identifiable recycling bin:
The key to fostering good recycling habits is to make it easy for the public and the community to use and understand – this includes images that cross language barriers, as well as bright and vivid colors so people can identify the bins.
Providing correctly labelled recycling bins in parks is a necessity if we want to keep our parks clean and invest in the sustainability of our environment.
Our public parks provide a welcoming environment for the community to come together and enjoy. It is up to each person to do their part to recycle appropriately and help build a clean and sustainable environment.
Implementing a clearly recognised recycling plan in our public parks is a crucial component in achieving sustainability and protecting the environment so that local communities can continue to use them for years to come.
Draffin’s range of recycling bins helps to provide an effective litter solution. Our product range provides clearly labelled bins, with a variety of icons, colours and text to make recycling an easy task for everyone in your community.
To learn more, you can view Draffin’s line of recycling bins here.