Five easy ways to reduce, reuse and recycle more effectively

woman recycling
If you're unsure over what can be recycled, you're not alone. Photo credit: Getty.

If you're guilty of throwing food containers and milk bottles into the red bin because you're not sure what's meant to go into recycling, you're not alone. 

New research from Kiwi cereal brand Kellogg's shows that just one percent of Kiwis feel confident about knowing which plastics can be recycled. 

According to the survey, 75 percent of those surveyed also thought this lack of knowledge was preventing them from recycling more, with 29 percent of Kiwis unaware soft plastics could be recycled.  Even more were reportedly unsure about exactly what products count as soft plastics. 

Lyn Mayes from Soft Plastic Recycling has put together some top tips for easy recycling and reducing your toxic load, so you can feel a little more confident that you're helping the planet. 

  • Jumping on board the charcoal BBQ trend but unsure what to do with the spent coals? Charcoal adds more nutrients to the soil than manure or compost. Try using crushed charcoal as a fertilizer to increase alkalinity in the soil and absorb toxins. It's a trick first practiced by Amazonian tribes more than 2000 years ago.
  • Did you know that soft plastics can be recycled and turned into new products? So next time you're crunching on your corn flakes, consider that the bag they came in can enjoy a new life as a fence post or vegetable planter box. Just look out for the soft plastic recycling bins in supermarkets. It's soon to be more - Tamara Howe, director of corporate affairs and general manager at Kellogg's said the company is "committed to using 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by the end of 2025". 
  • Kiwi company Subs creates jandals and bags from recycled plastics. They pledge that with every pair of jandals sold, they will remove one kilo of ocean debris from marine ecosystems. They'll even recycle your old jandals back into new pairs.
  • We consume three times more cans than bottles over the holidays and an additional 400 percent in seaside areas. You can make your road trip to the beach a little more sustainable by preparing your meals in containers that are eco friendly and bringing your reusable water bottle. Most importantly, don't leave anything behind!
  • We all love hitting the beach, and being surrounded by water, we have a rich and diverse marine life we need to appreciate. Protect it by choosing mineral sunscreens that are free from Oxybenzone, a chemical that is potentially harmful to coral reefs. Opt for those that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are environmentally safer.