Your top recycling questions answered
New National Recycling Week report illustrates benefits to people, profits and planet
What happens to recycling when it goes in the recycling bin? What are the common mistakes householders make in their kerbside recycling?
Glen Innes Severn residents can discover answers to those burning recycling questions during Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week (November 9 – 15).
A new report from Planet Ark, titled All Sorted: Answering the Big Recycling Questions[i] and commissioned for National Recycling Week, includes the top mistakes and main contaminants that confuse people.
Planet Ark surveyed 115 councils across Australia and asked them what the three most common recycling mistakes made by their residents were. Nine out of ten councils said that plastic bags and soft plastics in the recycling bin is one of the most common mistakes made by their residents; nearly half of councils reported residents mistakenly placing kerbside recyclables into the general waste bin; and food contamination of recyclables was the third most common mistake, highlighted by 23% of councils.
“There is a persistent myth that items picked up for recycling end up in landfill,” said Brad Gray, Head of Campaigns at Planet Ark. “But in reality, it’s simply not economic in most states for councils or waste companies to send recycling to landfill due to state waste levies. So each of us plays an important role, as our recycling habits influencing the success of the whole recycling system.”
Recycling reduces and can even eliminate the need to extract raw materials, saving limited natural resources. For example, 75% of all of the aluminium ever produced is still in use today because it can be recycled infinitely.
It’s not just the planet that benefits from our efforts, as business and people profit too. The process of recycling and composting creates more jobs than incineration and landfill, with 9.2 jobs in recycling for every 2.8 jobs in landfill[ii].
In addition, a study of almost 24,000 individuals across 27 countries found a significant positive relationship between recycling and life satisfaction. The result was linked with the positive emotions associated with altruistic behaviour and doing the ‘right thing’[iii].
Looking to the future, new product stewardship schemes such as those that deal with TVs, computers, batteries and plastic bottles, will help promote the recycling and safe disposal of items that were routinely sent to landfill in the past. The new Australian Recycling Label has also just been launched to help reduce consumer confusion.
Visit RecyclingWeek.PlanetArk.org website or call the National Recycling Hotline on 1300 733 712 for further information about any of Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week initiatives.
National Recycling Week is kindly supported by Associate Sponsors Australian Packaging Covenant, Bingo Bins and ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’.