New research commissioned by Planet Ark has found almost half of Australians are unsure of what happens to recycling and a significant proportion believe it goes mostly to landfill.
In Katherine, where there is no kerbside recycling options, residents are being urged to reboot their perspective on recycling this National Recycling Week.
As China’s waste import ‘ban’ hits Australia and waste levels continue to rise, recycling right matters now more than ever.
According to the most recent National Waste Report the NT is the third lowest producer of waste in Australia, generating 2.1 tonnes per capita.
More reading: How you can recycle right
But the Top End has the lowest resource recovery rate by far at only 28 per cent - or less than half the national average.
According to the research, this is due in part to the vast distances between facilities as well as the Territory’s low population density.
“National Recycling Week is the perfect time to reboot your own recycling habits,” Ryan Collins, Planet Ark’s Recycling Programs manager, said.
“Planet Ark’s research has revealed that despite 71 per cent of people being confident in knowing what can and can’t be recycled, 61 per cent would still like to see more information on these topics.”
In Katherine, recycling options are limited.
However a recent review into the Container Deposit Scheme has been found to be very popular with Territorians, with an increased number of containers recycled since its introduction.
And a recovery initiative for post-consumer soft plastic, REDcycle has recently been introduced to all Coles and Woolworths in Australia, including Katherine.
While some factors are out of the hands of residents those who want to make a difference can do so by taking control of their own recycling.
“With remote locations such as Katherine, we are applying ‘reverse logistics’, whereby the supermarket delivery trucks will be collecting the soft plastics from the store and bringing them back to a central location, before they make their way back to Melbourne (for recycling),” RED Group’s marketing and communications manager Rebecca Gleghorn said.
Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week was founded to put national focus on the environmental benefits of recycling.
This year’s theme, From Waste War to Recycling Reboot, aims to resolve some of the confusion surrounding how to recycle right and what happens to recycling once it has left our hands.
To achieve this, a range of materials from kerbside recycling and other recycling programs will be followed on their journey through the emerging circular economy.
Up until recently, Australia had a market in China for recyclables with high contamination levels that provided a good price.
However, in 2017, China announced the National Sword Policy which meant imported recyclables must have contamination levels below 0.5 per cent.
Australia’s kerbside recycling system does not have the technology to sort materials to meet the new contamination limits.
Australia’s reliance on the Chinese market has meant our domestic market for these materials has not been developed.
According to National Recycling Week 2018 research, there is opportunity to develop our domestic recycling market, although it will be challenging within the context of the international market
National Recycling Week 2018 takes place from Monday 12 to Sunday 18 November.
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