he waste and recycling industry has been put under the spotlight in a 60 Minutes segment with a teaser proclaiming recycling is “the biggest con of all time”. While the issues raised by 60 Minutes must be addressed, we are concerned this, and other media pieces, might cause Australians to ask if they should keep recycling. Planet Ark says yes, and this is why:
- Recycling is not a con: The recycling process recovers and diverts over 37 million tonnes of materials such as aluminium, steel, glass, paper and cardboard, and plastic away from landfills and reduces our reliance on virgin resources. There are issues exporting plastic waste to Malaysia, but this represents just 0.2% of the total amount of recycling for Australia.
- Three decades of recycling: Kerbside recycling has been happening in Australia for over 30 years since collections began in the 1980s. 91% of Australians agree it’s the right thing to do and in that time we’ve had some big improvements.
- Plastic makes up less than 9%: There are problems with plastic materials being exported for processing, but this material only makes up less than 9% of the kerbside recycling bin by weight.
- Onshore recycling expansion: Over 30% of plastic recycling in Australia is processed at home and this number would increase dramatically with domestic investment.