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Why recycling is not the solution

September 11, 2018

Why recycling is not the solution


 

Australia is currently in an industry recycling crisis. The recent ban from China on imported solid waste means that a lot of the waste that was sent to China previously is now remaining here and not being recycled. Just to give you an idea of how much is being stockpiled in Australia, last year alone we exported more than 600,000 tonnes of waste to China. We don’t have the capacity to handle this volume.

Over 51% of all Australian household waste is made up of recyclables. Not only are we in a crisis, recycling is also an energy intensive process with very few studies into how much energy is required and how much recycling is actually processed. As the crisis intensifies councils around Australia are struggling to find solutions to this waste issue, with some have to turn to dumping recycling in landfill as it is too expensive for the council to recycle.


The waste hierarchy

  1. Avoid
  2. Reduce
  3. Reuse
  4. Recycle
  5. Energy recovery
  6. Landfill

 

 

The solution is reusing. Reusing is far less energy intensive than putting it through the recycling process and risk it ending up in landfill anyway.  Without the creation of new waste altogether we don’t need to rely on recycling.


A good way to start is to take notice of the waste you are producing. Once you become aware of the types of trash you are generating, it is easier to identify effective ways to reduce and find durable alternatives.


It’s also extremely easy to replace items you would generally use once like coffee cups, water bottles, straws, and cutlery. There’s almost always a reusable eco-friendly solution to single-use item.  A small one time investment means you can reuse time and time again and less your usage of waste. We all need to do our part no matter how small or big to reduce the waste taking over our planet.


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