Recycling Week: So You Think You Can Recycle?

The average Australian produces 647kg of municipal waste each year making us some of the most prolific consumers among developed countries.

Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week (7th – 13th November) highlights the many opportunities for improvements in waste reduction and recycling for local residents.

A new report from Planet Ark, titled So You Think You Can Recycle?, features the Golden Rules of Recycling that tackle the most common recycling conventions to help clear up confusion.

One of the greatest challenges to kerbside recycling is the issue of contamination. Eight out of ten councils surveyed said that ‘reducing contamination in kerbside recycling’ is a high priority.

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understand recycling

Most people are engaged in recycling at home and think they understand recycling well, but this creates the belief that it’s always “someone else” who isn’t a good recycler.

“There is still a significant amount of confusion when it comes to appropriately disposing of plastics, particularly soft plastics like bread, pasta, cereal and lolly bags,” said Ryan Collins, Recycling Programs Manager at Planet Ark. “Many Australians believe that they are doing the right thing by throwing their soft plastic in the kerbside recycling bin, but once it reaches the recycling facility, it can become tangled in the machinery, making the process less efficient. “Generally speaking, soft plastics are any plastics that can be easily scrunched by hand. They can be taken to many supermarkets to be recycled through the REDCycle program.

“Part of the reason people get confused is because of the variety of symbols on packs. Our new Australian Recycling Label starting to feature on products should help reduce confusion.”

While most people have recycling bins in the kitchen, Planet Ark research found that only 18% of Australian households have recycling bins in the bathroom. Just like kitchens, there are many products in the bathroom that can be recycled, including aerosol cans, shampoo and conditioner bottles, soap packets and cardboard toilet paper rolls.

HELP CLOSE THE RECYCLING LOOP

“One of the best ways to keep resources out of landfill is to make sure you’re not only recycling, but buying recycled products back to help close the recycling loop,” says Collins.

“Good examples are choosing Australian-made recycled office paper and 100% recycled toilet tissue which help create an economic incentive for businesses to use materials with recycled content and are easy options for any household or workplace. To encourage people to choose recycled we are giving away four prizes of a year’s supply of Naturale 100% recycled toilet tissue – visit recyclingweek.planetark.org for competition details.”

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