STAWELL - Northern Grampians Shire Council staff have taken a tour of VicWest Recyclers.
All recycled waste from the shire is processed at the plant and the tour was organised to allow councillors and council staff the opportunity to view the process first hand.
"The tour gave us an insight into how those materials are processed," Northern Grampians Shire Council's manager of emergency services and environment, Kath Gosden said.
"It was an opportunity for council to get an idea and an explanation on what issues might come from people putting incorrect items in their recycling bins.
"A lot of people probably don't realise on the floor of the site there are actually people hand sorting through the materials, there is also technology with conveyor belts and different sorting compartments, but the majority of sorting is done by people."
The tour explained to councillors that when people put the wrong items in their recycle bins it has a number of consequences.
Ms Gosden said one of the main effects is an increase in cost to remove the incorrect materials, which stretches council's waste management service budget.
"By putting things in recycling bins that we shouldn't, we are slowing down the sorting time which adds significant cost to each load of waste that is processed," she said.
"Not only the cost but Vic West are responsible for disposing of the waste that is removed."
There is also a risk to the VicWest Recyclers staff that stems from things being dumped that shouldn't.
Some of the common waste that has to be removed includes nappies, food waste, materials wrapped up in plastic bags and on occasions syringes and other medical waste.
Ms Gosden said people need to know that what they place in their recycling bins is sorted and broken down into individual categories to be sent away.
"Some of the Northern Grampians Shire Council customer service staff often field questions about what can be put into the recycling bins, so it was good for them to come along and witness the process that takes place," she said.
"It is always good to see what happens during that process, but it was also good to find out what products get made into. Often that is an eye opener."