THE COVID-19 pandemic has caused the region's waste and recycling numbers to soar, prompting a fresh call to action from locals.
Northern Inland Regional Waste (NIRW) is calling on us all to "recycle right", to help limit the amount of reusable products that end up in landfills.
"I think right across the state there has been a significant increase in waste and recycling," NIRW project officer Karen Weller said.
"I don't think there's any doubt that rise is because of the pandemic and people spending more time at home as a result.
"What we are hoping to do now is to get people to see their waste as a resource and to then recover that resource."
NIRW's recycle right message comes during National Recycling Week, which aims to help educate about the benefits of recycling.
"Even though National Recycling Week is focused on November 9 to 15, we are actually doing a recycle right campaign throughout the month, which is just focusing on deterring people from putting plastic bags with their recyclables," Ms Weller said.
"One of the biggest problems we are having is that people put their recycling into plastic bags, which means the whole bag ends up in landfill.
"A lot of people don't realise that our recycling is sorted by hand and if it is in a plastic bag it can't be saved as a resource."
A recent Planet Ark study found regional Australians were 85 per cent more likely to take action on recycling than those in urban areas, while 80 per cent of those surveyed either undervalued or did not know the value of their recyclables.
"I think rural communities are more connected to nature and the environment, which may explain why regional people are more likely to take action," Ms Weller said.
"The slogan you often hear is the war on waste and it is coming from all angles, not just us in our region.
"The message of recycling items, reducing waste and recovering resources is coming from across the state and beyond. Our chemical cleanout campaigns across the region have been really successful so far this year and we're really hoping this recycle right campaign can be a success too."
NIRW covers 12 council areas across the region including:
- Armidale Regional Council
- Glen Innes Severn Council
- Gunnedah Shire Council
- Gwydir Shire Council
- Inverell Shire Council
- Liverpool Plains Shire Council
- Moree Plains Shire Council
- Narrabri Shire Council
- Tamworth Regional Council
- Tenterfield Shire Council
- Uralla Shire Council
- Walcha Council