Lift the right lid. Cairns campaign aims to boost recycling

Richard Dinnen - Queensland Editor |

The Cairns waste collection fleet now carries messages to encourage correct recycling
The Cairns waste collection fleet now carries messages to encourage correct recycling

More than 9,000 tonnes of recyclable waste is being put in the wrong bins in far north Queensland every year, and Cairns Regional Council hopes to change that.

According to the Council, Cairns residents are putting recyclables straight into rubbish bins, rather than the recycling bin.

That’s 193,000 wheelie bins worth of material needlessly going in to landfill every year.

This year, for National Recycling Week, Council has launched a campaign intended to have locals change their habits and keep recyclables out of waste bins.

Collection trucks now carry messages urging people to “lift the right lid” and “recycle right”.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said reducing the amount of recyclables ending up in landfill is a key component of Council’s waste strategy.

“We aim to reduce residential waste sent to landfill by 15 per cent in the next five years.

“Continuing to have this much recycling in waste will simply not achieve that target.”

The lift the right lid campaign reminds people what should and should not go into the yellow lid recycling bin.

Cairns Councillor, Brett Moller, said community support is vital.

“Unfortunately, up to 20 per cent of materials placed in waste bins each year could be recycled.

“This is economically and environmentally costly to the community.

“An easy first step is understanding there are four main categories of recycling. Steel and aluminium cans, hard plastic bottles and containers, glass bottles and jars, and paper and cardboard items.

“They should be placed in the yellow lid recycling bins.”

In Cairns, the top five items wrongly put in rubbish bins are paper and cardboard, hard plastic bottles and containers, aluminium cans, steel cans, glass bottles and jars.

National Recycling Week was established in November 1996 by Planet Ark to bring a national focus to the environmental benefits of recycling.