Planet Ark News

Cleaning Up Confusion for National Recycling Week

Date: 07-Nov-16
Author: Ryan Collins

Planet Ark ambassador James Treble finding out how to recycle right for National Recycling Week © Planet Ark

Planet Ark ambassador James Treble finding out how to recycle right for National Recycling Week

A new report titled So You Think You Can Recycle? released for National Recycling Week shows that Australians are keen recyclers but most of us are still making mistakes. Most people are engaged in recycling at home and think they understand recycling well, but this creates the belief that it’s always “someone else” who isn’t a good recycler.

The research also found some surprises like the fact that the most committed recyclers are more likely to make two key mistakes and that there are even differences based on age and gender. 

Attitude and Behaviour

NSW EPA social research found that almost everyone thinks they understand the recycling process, from those that are considered enthusiastic, committed recyclers to those disengaged towards recycling.

  • 57% of ‘committed’ recyclers wrongly recycle old drinking glasses compared to 44% of ‘disengaged’ recyclers (drinking glasses cannot be recycled in kerbside bins)
  • 35% of ‘committed’ recyclers are more likely to always recycle ceramic plates than those who are ‘disengaged’ (27%) (ceramic interferes with glass recycling) 

Demographic Differences

Planet Ark’s research showed a number of differences between the sexes and age groups with women and older generations on top in their recycling behaviour.

  • Women (69%) are more willing than men (59%) to recycle batteries at the supermarket
  • More women (63%) than men (53%) know that berry punnets are recyclable in kerbside bins
  • More 50-64 year olds (48%) than 14-24 year olds (30%) know that aerosol cans are recyclable in kerbside bins
  • More 50-64 year olds (87%) than 14-24 year olds (74%) know that long life milk and juice cartons can be recycled at home. 

High Performing Workplaces

The recent Australian Packaging Covenant awards showcased examples of businesses driving success and innovation in the waste and recycling area. Some of their key achievements include:

  • Unilever Australia, redesigning the 500ml Lipton Ice Tea bottle and saving 403 tonnes of plastic per year.
  • Blackmores, saving $68,500 per annum on waste disposal through their Close Loop process.
  • Smith’s Snackfood Company and Sakata Rice Snacks, increased plastic recycling by 47% up to 97 tonnes.
  • Australia Post, enabling customers to recycle more than 5 million printer cartridges and over 71 tonnes of mobile handsets

The Golden Rules of Kerbside Recycling

Check that you are doing the right thing at home by following the Golden Rules of Kerbside Recycling and then share them on social media for National Recycling Week (7-13 Nov).


Ryan                                              Collins

Author: Ryan Collins

Ryan is the Recycling Programs Manager at Planet Ark. After nearly a decade working in the banking and finance industry Ryan was drawn to a career in environmental conservation that saw him work in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji. With a background in psychology and environmental management, Ryan’s role at Planet Ark since 2012 has been focused on developing engaging and positive environmental behaviour change programs to help everyone recycle and reduce waste.



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