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Second Nature - Recycling In Australia

Date: 12-Nov-12
Author: Zo Zhou

Second Nature Report Summary Cover © Zo Zhou

For most Australians, recycling newspapers, aluminium cans and milk cartons at home has become second nature over the past few of decades. However, Australian households and businesses are still sending almost 22 million tonnes of waste to landfill each year. That's the equivalent weight as 416 Sydney Harbour Bridges being buried. The reality is that much of this material is recyclable.

A new report from Planet Ark titled Second Nature: Recycling in Australia, has been launched for National Recycling Week to examine the past, present and future of recycling.

According to Australian Packaging Covenant data, included in the report, the recycling rate for packaging has soared from 39.2% in 2003, to 63.1% in 2011. Paper and cardboard is the best performer with a recycling rate of 75.5% and aluminium cans reached a peak in 2010 with more than 67% recycled. But despite these encouraging changes the commercial and industrial sector is still throwing around a million tonnes of paper and cardboard into landfill every year.

The report discusses many of the key issues in recycling including:

  • Why are some materials recycled and others aren't? 
  • What are the four key drivers that mean a material is likely to be recycled? 
  • What is happening with e-waste recycling? 
  • Why is it more difficult to collect from homes than businesses? 
  • How effective have producer responsibility programs like 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' and MobileMuster been? 
  • What are the key issues for recycling into the future?

To answer these and other key questions about recycling check out

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