I'm interested in finding ways to decrease the fraction of my household waste that goes to landfill. One strategy for achieving this objective - in part if not in whole - is to change my purchasing habits, basically to buy fewer items that involve non-biodegradable materials and sort waste at a minimal level (compostables from non-compostables, plastics from metals, steel/aluminum/tin/etc., etc.)

I'd like to explore ways of processing and repurposing items that aren't recyclable in the conventional sense (e.g. plastic cereal bags, thin shell packaging, etc.). This is in part because it seems like it could be practical, if not immediately then in aggregate at a sort of population level over time, and in part because it seems like it could be fun (or at least instructive.)

Are there forums or publicly maintained websites/website-communities where an aspiring amateur home recycler such as myself might find guidance and/or share advice?


2 Answers 2


Recycling is a minefield, I have read. There may be thousands of different plastics I read here; some may be recyclable, research is ongoing. I was interested to read about research into recycling melamine, for example. It would be difficult to set up something for this at a household level.

After I read how the Netherlands have banned melamine tableware and how bad that tableware is for infants ... I have grandchildren visiting ... I threw my melamine mugs and saucers into the county council supplied recycling bin for paper products and hard plastic, hoping that this council collects melamine for the purpose of recycling.

But probably my melamine is going to landfill. Unusable Melamine will need to be collected on an industrial scale before it can be recycled. The factory where melamine might be be recycled is a steel-making town in South Australia, 5000km from where I live. Who is going to truck it there? Totally uneconomical in the present economical structure.

In Australia we have had a soft plastic collection scheme that has been going since 2011. This was an initiative "The REDcycle Program is a voluntary, industry-led initiative developed by Melbourne-based organisation, RED Group." Quite likely they started it due to public pressure and I think this is how we can influence industrial initiatives.

This page tells you 7 or so common plastics and whether they can be recycled, and how.

I recommend having a look at what your local county council is doing, getting together with like-minded citizens in your town ... maybe through FaceBook...and try to influence your council.

  • The Australian REDCycle scam has collapsed: abc.net.au/news/2022-11-17/… From what I can tell it never recycled anything, didn't even downcycle anything.
    – Móż
    Feb 16, 2023 at 23:58

Your question ... Are there forums ... where an aspiring amateur home recycler ... might find guidance and/or share advice?

It's difficult to organise worldwide online communities to discuss the Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle option of managing waste because of the differing local, on-ground realities.

PlanetArk in Australia is our go-to organisation for recycling for people who live in Australia. Do they operate in US and or Europe? There may be similar organizations there and elsewhere.

Brisbane City Council runs a blog and an FB page where you can ask questions and discuss things with like-minded people.

If you don't want to waste petrol, energy, money, or time driving here and there for the purposes of chasing places where this or that item can be recycled, then you need to stick with your area, supported by the people who pick up your rubbish, and, as you said, change your purchasing habits.

Even where you shop can be helpful. My local branch of Woollies (supermarket) collects used batteries, dead mobiles (cell phones to you), and other small electronic devices for recycling.

  • 1
    I guess what I meant was that there are many kinds of unlabeled plastic that are in principle recyclable, but which aren't recycled merely because no one has taken the time to investigate how to do so. It seems to me that one way to encourage more widespread recycling at an industrial scale would be to look for new ways of recycling at an amateur (e.g. single household) level. One could in theory approach this task in isolation, but far more effective would be to solve it as part of a larger community.
    – TLDR
    Jan 16, 2023 at 19:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.