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Second Nature - Recycling In Australia

If your colleagues are like 90% of Australians, recycling the newspaper, aluminium cans and milk cartons they use at home is now second nature to them but how do we compare at work? By participating in 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' your workplace is showing environmental leadership but do you know why are some materials recycled and others not? What's happening with e-waste and battery recycling? The Second Nature Report answers these and many other questions.

Recycling items like 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, and launched ahead of National Recycling Week examines the past, present and future of recycling.

How have wars, depressions and world crises, like the 1970s oil shock, affected the way Australians manage resource and recycle?

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 recycle 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