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Australian householders hamper recycling efforts

Ill-disciplined recycling habits among Australian citizens are causing problems at sorting facilities, a new study has revealed.

The non-profit environmental organisation Planet Ark Environmental Foundation recently conducted a study involving 180 local councils to identify ‘the most common recycling mistakes’ made by households across the country.

Instructions needed

According to the study, residents are dropping non-recyclable soft plastics such as bread bags, bagged recyclables and even organics into recycling bins. This contamination is said to happen because of a lack of information. As a result, a large portion of recyclables is sent to landfill. Planet Ark’s research shows that, despite 71% of people being ‘confident’ about what can and cannot be recycled, 61% would like to see more detailed recycling instructions.

Growing waste mix

Councils also identified that more people are throwing food waste into the recycling bins for paper and cardboard, leading to increased contamination of these materials waste streams. Sanitary products, clothing and non-recyclable plastics such as meat trays and bottle tops have also been creating problems. 

Practical tools

In a move to address this issue, Planet Ark has introduced a new theme, ‘From Waste War to Recycling Reboot’ as part of the National Recycling Week programme (11-18 November). The initiative is intended to teach people ‘how to recycle right’ by offering them practical information about the entire recycling process.

‘National Recycling Week is the perfect time to reboot your own recycling habits,’ says Ryan Collins, who manages the recycling programme for Planet Ark. 

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