Drought-Buster Recycling Tips

Over the last year, much of Australia has experienced drought. Many people are facing another Summer with strict water restrictions.

Australia is the Earth's driest populated continent, so water is always an issue. However, it is now one with a greater sense of urgency.

This National Recycling Week, Planet Ark is encouraging Australians to save water and recycle as part of a broad, balanced approach to lessening our impact on the planet.

Here are some water saving tips to get you started:

TIP: Recycle right and rinse right

Rinse recyclable cans, bottles and jars in old dishwashing water. Do not use fresh tap water.

TIP: Turn newspaper into water-saving mulch

Newspapers can be shredded and used as mulch in the garden. This will reduce water evaporation by up to 70%, helping to cut down water use in the summer months as well as making use of unwanted newspapers.

TIP: Recycle water

People can also reduce their water use by recycling water itself.

'Grey' water, the waste water from baths and showers can be used for garden watering. Independent research shows that 'grey' water from the use of Planet Ark laundry powder can also be safely put on your garden.

TIP: Keep recycling

In many cases, making new products from recycled materials instead of virgin raw materials uses a lot less water. For example, the manufacture of newsprint from recycled newspapers uses approximately 20% less water. So keep recycling your newspapers and magazines.

TIP: Buy recycled

According to recycling industry figures, for each tonne of paper that is recycled, approximately 31,780 litres of water is saved. This highlights the importance of recycling office paper.

Each working day, two semi-trailer loads of office water paper are recycled to make 'Safe' toilet tissue. Because these toilet rolls are made from recycled paper, this represents enough saved water to fill hundreds of Olympic-size swimming pools.

TIP: Keep groundwater clean

The cadmium from old mobile phone batteries is more toxic than lead and can leach from landfill into groundwater.

Keep unwanted mobile phones and their batteries out of landfill by recycling them. Find your nearest mobile phone recycling outlet.

TIP: Keep the waterways and beaches clean

Litter pollutes our streets and parks. Rain washes it into stormwater drains, which carry the pollution and litter to nearby creeks, rivers and beaches. Litter can also harm wildlife.

Many of these items, particularly plastic supermarket bags, could be recycled through the collection bins in supermarkets, such as some Coles supermarkets. Search RecyclingNearYou.com.au to find out where you can recycle plastic bags, printer cartridges and other local recycling services.