November 8, 2018
New research commissioned by Planet Ark has found that while the majority of Australians trust their kerbside recycling does actually get recycled, almost half of us aren’t sure of what happens to it and a significant proportion believe it goes mostly to landfill.
As China’s waste import ‘ban’ hits Australia and our population and waste levels continue to rise, recycling right matters now more than ever. This year Planet Ark is encouraging Australians to reboot their perspective on recycling in the most important National Recycling Week (12 – 18 November) since it was founded 22 years ago.
Residents, businesses and organisations around Australia can help by taking control of their own recycling journey and discovering the many elements of recycling that lie outside the public eye. Nearly all Australians recycle and think of themselves as conscientious recyclers, but many residents want to know what happens once the wheelie bin is emptied from kerbside.
Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week was founded to put a national focus on the environmental benefits of recycling. This year’s theme, From Waste War to Recycling Reboot, aims to resolve some of the confusion surrounding how to recycle right and what happens to our recycling once it has left our hands. To achieve this, a range of materials from kerbside recycling and other recycling programs will be followed on their journey through the emerging circular economy.
A council survey conducted by Planet Ark found that the most common recycling mistake made by residents was soft plastics (like bread bags), bagged recyclables and food scraps or organics being placed in the recycling bin. These mistakes cause problems at sorting facilities and lead to more of Australia’s recyclables going to landfill.
“National Recycling Week is the perfect time to reboot your own recycling habits,” says Ryan Collins, Planet Ark’s Recycling Programs Manager. “Planet Ark’s research has revealed that despite 71% of people being confident in knowing what can and can’t be recycled, 61% would still like to see more information on these topics.”
It’s not all doom and gloom either with a number of positive recycling stories emerging this year. Bingo Industries have reported an increase in their industry leading construction and demolition recycling rates to 85% at their Minto facility. MobileMuster has recycled over 1,400 tonnes of mobile phone components overall with 99% of materials being recovered. Nespresso now has over 20,000 collection points for their coffee capsules. Popular Unilever brands using 25% locally sourced recycled plastic will be on the shelf in 2019. Whilst Cartridges 4 Planet Ark is very close to breaking the 40 million cartridges recycled barrier.
Households are also being given a helping hand to recycle right with the launch of the Australasian Recycling Label. It aims to help consumers understand which bin a piece of packaging should be placed in. Planet Ark has also released the 6 Golden Rule of Kerbside Recycling that tackle the most common recycling conventions to help clear up confusion. In addition, the new recyclingnearyou.com.au website has been redesigned to make it even easier to find out what can be recycled in your area.
Check out the National Recycling Week research report From Waste War to Recycling Reboot for more positive recycling stories.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.