A new awareness program is aiming to improve recycling across the city.

The bin health checks involve visual assessments of 1000 randomly selected households general waste and recycling bins.

This will be followed by feedback provided on the contents of each bin in the form of a tag detailing how households can recycle more and waste less.

Townsville Water and Waste Committee chairperson Russ Cook said the health checks are a good way to directly address the confusion around what is and isn’t recyclable and provide feedback on how households can improve their recycling habits.

“Contamination of our recycling bins does impact the quality of recycling in the city and can cause problems during the sorting process,” Cr Cook said.

“We have an enthusiastic community that has a great attitude towards recycling and being sustainable, so we’re hoping to tap into that enthusiasm and build knowledge among residents.

“The health checks will give our staff an opportunity to provide individualised feedback via a tag on the contents of each of these randomly selected household bins.

“Our staff will also provide tips on how residents can make sure they’re recycling correctly and how they can reduce their waste.

“This information will then assist us in developing a targeted waste and recycling education program based on the trends identified during the health checks.”

Cr Cook said the most common contaminants in Townsville’s recycling bins include soft plastic such as plastic bags, food and garden waste, medical waste, and scrap metal.

“It is important that we aren’t putting contaminants in our recycling bins, as not only can they impact the quality of our recycling, but they can also be hazardous to staff,” he said.

“There are six materials that can make it into our yellow lid recycling bins – these are paper, cardboard, hard plastic food and drink containers, glass jars and bottles, steel tins and aluminium cans. We should also always rinse any recyclable food containers before putting them into the recycling bin.

“I’d also like to remind residents that it is free to take recyclables and green waste to our waste facilities year-round.”