Recyclesmart is a Sydney-based startup that’s on a mission to make waste management and recycling a bit easier.

If you’re in pre-spring cleaning mode and have unearthed a mountain of things that you can’t pop in your yellow or purple bins (but you don’t want to end up in landfill), such as soft plastics, electronic waste, textiles, books and even toys, Recyclesmart has a solution.

Residents of Bayside, Boroondara, City of Yarra, Darebin, Glen Eira, Melbourne, Merri-bek, Port Phillip and Stonnington can schedule a power pick-up and have unwanted waste collected from their doorstep – you don’t even have to be home at the time of pick-up. You can opt into a monthly plan, which costs $10 for two bags of everyday items, with add-ons available for large electronics or clunky cardboard (perfect if you’re doing a deep clean or moving house).

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The service is more important than ever following the high-profile collapse of Redcycle, and the cessation of in-store recycling programs at Coles and Woolworths.

“We realised the best way to get people to do the right thing is to make it really easy and simple for them,” says co-founder Giorgio Barrachi. “Think about Deliveroo – people don’t want to go out and pick food up themselves, they’d rather have someone to do it for them. It’s the same concept.”

Items Recyclesmart collects include scrunchable soft plastics such as produce bags, cereal-box liners, bubble wrap and squeeze pouches; e-waste, including old blenders, charging cables, computer parts, mobile phones and torches; textiles like clothing, belts, towels and shoes; and so-called “problem waste”, including books, fluorescent globes, batteries, printer cartridges, toys and CDs.
You don’t need to sort the waste out yourself, so all four kinds can go in the same bag. If your waste is left out in plastic bags, Recyclesmart will recycle the bag as well. Reusable shopping bags and canvas totes will be returned, and you can also request a bag to use.

Recyclesmart partners with two-year-old Victorian company APR Plastics to convert soft plastics into oil, which is then sent to Viva Energy’s Geelong refinery for further processing. From here it is then turned into resin, which enables it to be turned back into food-grade plastic packaging again.

Electronic waste can potentially become asphalt, concrete building materials, new batteries and more. Toys, books and wearable clothes are donated to local charities and op shops, while unwearable items get diverted to programs by vetted partners to recover and create new fibres. Other problem waste, such as batteries and lightbulbs, is dropped off at proper recycling facilities capable of processing them.
Since launching in October 2019, the Recyclesmart team has helped divert over 470 tonnes of recyclable waste from landfill.

Additional reporting by Chynna Santos

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