Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers

Workplace Cartridge Recycling © Jess McCallum

Think Outside The Bin

As of 2014 there are more active SIM cards in the world than people.  It is also estimated that 20-50 million tonnes of e-waste is being produced globally each year, but less than 10% worldwide is currently being recovered. Successful recyclers need to think outside the bin.

Recycling e-waste is important not only for reducing landfill and keeping potentially harmful materials out of the environment, but also for reclaiming the non-renewable materials they contain, reducing demand for newly mined resources.

Since July 2012 Australia has had a free TV and computer recycling scheme paid for by the manufacturers and importers which has established collection sites across the country.  Despite this, research for Planet Ark's Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers report showed that 74% of people thought there weren't enough recycling options for electronics. A possible explanation for this is that Australians have an increased understanding of the importance of recycling e-waste and they have a greater expectation that services should be easily accessible.  

Programs for four very different materials shows how manufacturers and retailers can help people become more successful recyclers by providing free and easily accessible recycling options:

  • Mobile Phones - MobileMuster is the Australian mobile phone industry's official recycling program. It recycles all brands and types of mobile phones, plus their batteries, chargers and accessories through a network of nearly 8,000 collection points as well as the Australia Post reply-paid satchel program.
  • Printer Cartridges - ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' is a partnership involving Planet Ark, recycling partner Close the Loop, and the participating manufacturers Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta and Kyocera. To date it has diverted more than 26 million printer cartridges from landfill, with zero waste to landfill from Close the Loop's processes.
  • Soft Plastics -The REDcycle Program allows householders to recycle ‘scrunchable' plastics like biscuit packets and trays, bread, pasta, rice, cereal, and dry cleaning bags, and more through drop of bins at participating (mostly metro and large regional) Coles and Woolworths stores. Since its launch in 2012 more than 78 million bags have been recycled.
  • Batteries - The ALDI ActivEnergy Battery Recycling Program was established in all ALDI stores at the end of 2012, providing a free drop off point for all brands of AA, AAA, C, D and 9V sized batteries. Since then, the program has collected 60 tonnes of batteries for recycling.

Get in on the secret

  • Dig your old mobile of out the draw and recycle it with MobileMuster at any Officeworks, Australia Post or JB HiFi store, or download a free reply paid label at 
  • Drop your used printer cartridges into any Officeworks store or participating Australia Post, Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys and Office National store, or visit to find out if your workplace is eligible for a free collection box.
  • Set up a collection system at home for soft plastics like bread, pasta, rice, and cereal bags, and other ‘scrunchable' plastics like biscuit packs and trays, then drop them into the REDcycle bins at participating Coles and Woolworths stores when you go shopping.
  • Set up a collection system at home for spent AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries and drop them into the specially marked recycling bins at any ALDI Supermarket.
  • Find out where to recycle your old TVs and computers under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme by visiting

See Secret #5: Take It To Work


See Secret #7: Buy it Back


  • Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers Report ( 4.47MB pdf file)
    This report for National Recycling Week 2014 lifts the lid on what makes a successful recycler, with each section focusing on actions that someone can take to be more successful.