How do we tackle rising waste?
Does Australia have a recycling crisis? Figures show that from 2014 to 2015, Australians only recycled 60 per cent of total collected waste. It is commonly believed that recycling means sorting your rubbish in to the right bin. However, that is only the first stage of the waste recycle management process.
At the beginning of this year China announced they were ceasing the transfer of Australia’s recyclable plastics to their shores, throwing the Australian Government into disarray. As it turns out, we quite manage our own waste alone.
So what should we do?
Councils and the Australian Government need to stand up!
The Government needs to prioritise public education on recyclable materials, as well as provide leadership and develop laws and guidelines that prioritises the correct disposal of recyclable waste. By having the correct infrastructure and procedures in place to meet the recycling demands of our country, we can prepare for an increase in the amount that Australians recycle, as we move towards better habits.
Companies must have the motivation to purchase recycled materials for their production. The price of recycled materials is far greater than that of virgin resources, making it the less desirable material out of the two.
Real leadership will be required to lay the groundwork for large projects and should be ready to face the inevitable scrutiny.
Motivate People to Recycle Correctly
States and territories have adopted a reward system to promote the correct recycling of bottles. This practise is used nationwide, where 10 cents is awarded for each bottle recycled at specific recycling depots.
However, Australia should take this a step further and follow the European model, where supermarkets provide dispensary machines for bottle collection and reimbursement, making a convenient, easy-to-access avenue for people to do the right thing and get rewarded for it.
Ban single-use items
Early this year Victorian shoppers experienced a big change when the two giant supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths, removed single-use plastic bags from their stores. This was due to the State Government announcing plans to eliminate lightweight plastic bags in the state by 2019. Approximately 1.6 billion single-use plastic shopping bags are annually consumed in the state, which will thankfully be soon reducing to zero.
This is a step in the right direction for Australia and we should apply these restrictions to all single-use items nation-wide. A gradual phase out will be necessary but it’s the next logical step for our country.
Australia is incredibly behind the world in its recycling habits. It’s going to take real action to improve the nations recycling habits, but it is achievable.
Doyle Bros is an Australian owned and operated waste manager that has been leading the way in providing responsible, sustainable and ethical waste management solutions across Sydney for nearly 30 years.