Donkey heads, snakes and dead cows: The bizarre items found in recycling

Donkey heads, snakes and dead cows: The bizarre items found in recycling

Most Australians are puzzled about how to dispose of dead pets, vapes and batteries, a new waste survey has found.

While Australia is a pet-loving country, 80 per cent of people don’t know how to dispose of their animals when they die, according to research commissioned by the waste management company Veolia.

To get rid of a pet’s corpse, 38 per cent put it in the bin, while 42 per cent said they had no idea.

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Just one in five respondents correctly named special collection points, run by local councils, as the correct place to leave dead animals.

Although it appears a bizarre problem, Veolia chief executive, Richard Kirkman, said cases happened regularly.

“When I speak to my operatives on the line, they tell me they get snakes, donkey heads, a dead cow cut in half, dead pets and all sorts of weird animals coming through the recycling,” he said.

“Some people might have thought we were being darkly humorous when we added dead animals as waste items but it’s not as uncommon as you think. These all pose contamination risks.”

Th YouGov survey canvassed 1172 people across the five mainland states last month.

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Of “greatest concern” for Kirkman was Australians’ ignorance about how to correctly dispose of vapes and e-cigarettes.

The research revealed 38 per cent of respondents didn’t know how to dispose of vapes and another 39 per cent thought they went in kerbside bins. And one in four had either littered vapes themselves or seen vapes dropped as litter.

If left intact in bins, their lithium batteries can become damaged and cause fires in trucks, waste facilities and in landfill.

To correctly dispose of vapes, the battery should be removed and vape body placed in a red general waste bin.

The battery should be left at a household battery collection point.

Some people also remain stumped about where to put batteries, with 35 per cent of those surveyed believing batteries belonged in kerbside bins. Six per cent didn’t know how to dispose of them at all.

Kirkman said “significant public education” was needed by all levels of government to re-educate Australians about where to dispose of vapes and batteries.

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