Australians underestimate value of recycling to economy

Australians underestimate value of recycling to economy

Media Release


Media Release

November 9th, 2020


PDF (233.5 KB)

Planet Ark urges Australians to go beyond the bin for National Recycling Week.

Up to 80% of Australians don’t realise the value of recycling to our national economy - approximately $15.5 billion – compared to just 8% who do, according to new research released for Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week.

Planet Ark also found that while around 3 in 4 Australians are concerned or very concerned about waste, our motivations differ. For the older generation, reducing landfill resonated more significantly than the rest of the population while younger Australians were more motivated by the potential of recycling to combat climate change and save wildlife.

The new data comes as part of Planet Ark’s National Recycling week, returning in 2020 from 9-15 November with the theme “Recovery – A Future Beyond the Bin”. The campaign aims to highlight the important role resource recovery can occupy in our economic and societal recovery and the need to shift perceptions of waste to recognise its resource value.

“Recycling is valuable both environmentally and economically, and is more important than ever in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of councils we surveyed reported increased volumes of general waste in kerbside bins as a result of COVID-19,” said Planet Ark Deputy CEO Rebecca Gilling.

“The pandemic has challenged the way we live, work and interact with the world around us and has offered us the chance to build a better future. We know that it is critical that recycling and resource recovery are a part of this. We want to encourage Australians to play their part in a creating a future beyond the bin.”

Now in its 25th year, National Recycling Week provides an important opportunity for councils, workplaces, schools and individuals to strengthen their recycling knowledge, improve recycling habits and build trust in recycling. A special focus this year is being paid to packaging, food and electronics, three of the most problematic waste streams in Australia with the greatest potential for improved resource recovery.

As well as new research, Planet Ark has also released a new National Recycling Week Resource Hub, the action-based “A Future Beyond the Bin” mini guide and many other fun and educational activities and online events. These free resources aim to help Australians take recycling into their own hands at home, work and school.

“What we call waste is a sign of inefficiency. Every Australian can own their impact and help make resource recovery part of our country or state’s economic recovery,” said Planet Ark’s Head of Circular Economy Programs Ryan Collins.

“The Future Beyond the Bin mini guide has been created to provide 6 easy steps to resource recovery, such as buying products or packaging with recycled content, getting into composting or recycling that old mobile phone.  

National Recycling Week is made possible by Major Sponsor Coca-Cola Australia, Associate Sponsors MobileMuster, Australasian Recycling Label and Cartridges 4 Planet Ark, and Supporting Sponsors Tetra Pak and Unilever.

To learn more or get involved in National Recycling Week, visit

Liam Taylor

Head of Communications

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