Recycling in Australia

According to a recent University of NSW survey, Australians are losing confidence in recycling and overwhelmingly want government to support further waste management solutions.

The survey was released a year after China’s announcement in January it would refuse to accept certain recyclable materials it had been taking from other countries.

Key statistics from the findings show that:

* 65.4% of people believe recyclables put into council bins goes to landfill (69.5% female, 51.4% aged 18-34, 75.1% aged 65-plus)

* 49% of people believe green and ecofriendly efforts will not have an effect in their lifetime, and 63.8% of those aged 65-plus see no benefits being realised

* 72.4% of people would recycle more if the material was reliably recycled.

“Waste is such a huge global problem – we have to run just to try to keep up,” says Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre. “Over the past century the consumption of materials globally has increased eight fold. And, over the past decade we’ve doubled the volume of waste the world’s more than three billion urban dwellers throws away, to an average of 1.2 kg per person per day. In Australia we only recycle about half of what we throw away.”

It’s not all bad news though – Australia is one of the top cardboard and paper recyclers in the world, while Victoria has announced a ban on all lightweight plastic bags across the State, rolled out by the end of 2019.