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Recycling in Australia

Recycling in Australia is in a state of flux, on the one hand, we have the recycling company SKM forced to shut down in Victoria, but on the other, Container Deposit Schemes are seeing great success in all states and the government is proposing to ban sending waste and recyclables overseas. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that we can’t continue the way we are going now.

So what can we do right now, as consumers, to improve recycling?

Source Separation

Container deposit schemes are profoundly successful because it's clear to all what is and isn’t accepted. Meaning that contamination is reduced and as a result, the recyclables that are collected maintain their integrity.

For example, if you have single-stream recycling collection paper can be easily contaminated by the leftover liquid in a bottle, or smashed glass. Ultimately, this will result in the recycling ending up in the landfill more often. Find out more about source separation here.

2. Rinse your recyclables

Another common issue is dirty containers being sent for recycling. It should come as no surprise that materials that are dirty or have food on them are less valuable and can contaminate other recyclables - in the recycling process and in the bins.

So make sure you are rinsing out your recyclables and removing any food remnants from your pizza box.

3. Learn your local recycling procedures

Planet Ark is doing some great work compiling local recycling procedures across Australia so you can find them easily - without too much hassle. If they don't have all of the answers, check with your local council.

4. Learn your plastics

All plastics aren’t the same, clear hard plastics are more valuable in the recycling process than soft plastics such as cling film. We wrote an article on this recently so you can learn what the numbers in the chasing arrow symbols ♻️ mean and how to avoid the worst offenders. Read more about recycling codes here.

5. Educate others

Take your new-found knowledge and share it with others. In the workplace, this could look like recycling education sessions, posters, emails or competitions. Learn more about how to educate your team here.

Most people want to do the right thing, but lack the knowledge to do so. Particularly in the workplace, so make sure the facilities and information are available and easily understood by users. Use our Successful Recycling Guide to implement an effective recycling system in your workplace, or get in touch and one of our team will help you to create a system specific to your needs.

Ready to start an effective workplace recycling system?