With big changes in the global market over the past year, Australian recycle has taken some big hits. Without adequate domestic sorting or reprocessing facilities, we’ve been unable to adapt to the new recycle quality standards of overseas buyers.
And as Australian recycle kept coming from local councils, the backup has became too much for many recyclers to handle; many councils have taken to dumping recycle into landfill as recyclers turn them away.
This type of news is always hard to hear, especially for the millions of Australians who take the time to recycle properly. But we shouldn’t become despondent; instead, it’s time to double down on our efforts to make sure we’re doing our best for our environment. Below are a few things any of us can do to make a positive impact here at home.
● Just Google It
If you’re unsure of whether a piece of plastic or scrap material can go into the recycle, quickly check google to see if it’s recyclable or not. It may feel good throwing away those random plastics into the yellow bin, but if it’s actually non-recyclable it can cause major issues down the line.
Non recyclable material at recycling facilities can cause chaos, jamming machinery that leads to all sorts of delays. And if it does get through the recycle process, it’ll affect the raw material produced, making it harder to use.
It’ll only take a quick google search to find out if that jar or plastic bottle really can be recycled. Taking the time to check while learning along the way can improve the quality of our material and also save a lot of people a headache down the line!
Embracing composting at your home or work will significantly reduce the amount you’ll contribute to landfill, with organics making up an estimated 30% of all waste.
It also prevents organics from producing Methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is generated when they decompose without air (a.k.a when buried). By composting we’re able to give back the energy and resources that went into making the food and scraps back to the earth.
While it isn’t recycling in the ‘bottles and cans’ sort of way we’re used to, composting is the ultimate in organics recycling and waste diversion from landfill.
● Say No to Single Use Plastic!
But perhaps the biggest change any of us can do is refuse single use plastics wherever you shop. This prevents them from entering the waste cycle in the first place, while also sending a strong message to businesses that as a community we are looking for sustainable and environmentally conscious alternatives.
The more of us that signal to businesses we are looking for change, the more likely they’re going to get on board with compostable, reusable and recyclable products. Plastic Free Noosa, sponsored by the Boomerang Alliance, is perhaps the best example of this type of community influence in action.
Since their establishment in mid 2017, Plastic Free Noosa has stopped more than 2.2 million single use plastics entering their community. That's 2.2 million plastic bags, straws, and cutleries prevented from endangering their wildlife, marine life and waterways. The small change of refusing plastics has lead to an enormous impact - imagine what Australia could do if we stood together against single use plastics in our communities.