7 November 2022
National Recycling Week was founded by Planet Ark in 1996 as an opportunity for Australians to take waste and recycling into their own hands by improving their recycling knowledge and building better recycling habits. This National Recycling Week, 7-13 November 2022, Planet Ark is asking all Australians to rethink their waste and see it as a resource that can be turned into new products.
Waste is not waste until it is wasted
According to the National Waste Report 2020, Australians threw away more than two and a half million tonnes of plastic in 2018-19, with businesses responsible for more than half. The good news is, we all have a big opportunity to improve our management of plastics through reuse and recycling.
At Wildlife Queensland, we love to recycle and reuse. In fact, you could call us ‘wild’ about recycling! Here are some of the simple ways we recycle and reuse in the workplace:
- separate all plastics, cans and glass for recycling
- have boxes near our photocopier and main office area for recycling paper
- buy Who Gives a Crap recycled toilet paper
- purchase cleaning products that are packaged in recyclable containers
- our volunteers collect paper (including shredded paper) and other containers and take these to recycling depots; they also take electronic waste to e-recycling centres
- repurpose cardboard boxes
- wear reusable (COVID) masks
- support sustainable businesses and products.
Head to the National Recycling Week website for great information and resources to help you set up or expand a recycling program at your workplace.
The race to reduce plastic waste
Since 2015, Wildlife Queensland has been working as part of the Boomerang Alliance to help get rid of problem plastic waste.
We’re making headway when it comes to plastics, with bans on single-use plastic bags, straws, cutlery and other non-recyclable items. A ban on further single-use plastic items in Queensland from 1 September 2023 will include all disposable plastic shopping bags, plastic-stemmed cotton buds, microbeads in personal care and cleaning products, loose polystyrene packaging, and the mass release of helium balloons.
In July this year, the Queensland Government also announced plans to introduce a Reusable Shopping Bag Standard to ensure all shopping bags available from retailers will be genuinely reusable in the future. Disposable coffee cups are now also at the centre of the agenda.
At the recent Meeting of Environmental Ministers in October, the Boomerang Alliance and Australian environmental groups urged federal and state governments to join Queensland in regulating a Reusable Bag Standard and targeting coffee cup pollution.
Expanding container deposit schemes
The Boomerang Alliance and its allies welcome the growing state support in expanding container deposit schemes around Australia, which was also on the Ministers’ agenda, with studies in NSW and Victoria showing support from the community to extend coverage to wine, spirits, juices, cordials and larger containers.
Australia’s Container Refund Scheme has been made accessible in most Australian States, with Victoria and Tasmania slated to follow suit.
The Queensland Government will soon gauge the community’s views on growing the scheme in Queensland, which has already seen more than 5.5 billion containers recycled through refund points and $540 million in refunds issued since it was launched in 2018. Consultation is expected to launch in December 2022 and run through to February 2023.
Cashing in containers for wildlife
The scheme incentivises recycling bottles and containers, which greatly reduces the amount of energy required to create plastics.
Recycling your drink containers under Queensland’s container refund scheme, Containers for Change, can also directly help Queensland’s native wildlife. Here’s how:
- Simply take your collected eligible empty drink containers to a Containers for Change collection point.
- Donate your refund to Wildlife Queensland projects by quoting our scheme ID number: C10002920 (or save the image with our ID number to your phone for quick and easy reference when you’re at the collection point.)
- Each container earns 10 cents, which adds up quickly, and it’s one more recyclable product that won’t find its way into our oceans. Read more
How will you be rethinking waste this National Recycling Week? Let us know and tag your pics on Facebook or Instagram.