Revelations on the recycling habits of Australians

Monday, 10 November, 2008

A recent study has quantified national beverage container consumption, and recovery and recycling rates at home and away from home.

The study was commissioned by the Packaging Stewardship Forum (PSF) of the Australian Food and Grocery Council. The PSF represents companies within the beverage industry and their packaging suppliers, who for the past 30 years have been working to ensure that their packaging products are recycled and disposed of correctly.

Jenny Pickles, general manager of the PSF, said the forum’s members are committed to ensuring householders and businesses continue to do the right thing by considering the impact post-consumer packaging has on the environment if it’s not disposed of correctly.

“This study has revealed how that at home we are collecting between 75–85% of glass, aluminium and PET beverage containers, rates which mirror those achieved under the container deposit system in South Australia.

“Clearly households around the country are recycling not for the incentive of a deposit but because kerbside collections have made it easy for them to recycle and they want to do the right thing for our environment," Pickles said.

“But we do need to make it easier for businesses to recycle,” said Pickles, noting the study’s find that recovery rates of beverage packaging from the away-from-home area (ie, pubs and clubs, shopping centres, workplaces etc) are around one quarter of that recovered from the residential sector, largely due to the lack of cost-effective recycling services for business.

The study’s findings reinforce the PSF’s and National Packaging Covenant’s ongoing focus on improving recycling outcomes from the away-from-home area.

Over the last 18 months, the covenant — a voluntary initiative by government and industry to reduce the environmental effects of packaging on the environment — has focused on encouraging the waste management industry to provide collection and recycling services to business.

“It’s exciting to see the waste management industry responding to the call for action on away-from-home recycling. The penny has dropped and industry is seeing that there are real business opportunities for them in providing recycling services to businesses,” said Pickles.

A copy of the report, Australian Beverage Packaging Consumption, Recovery and Recycling Quantification Study, can be downloaded from the ‘Increasing Resource Recovery’ page on the PSF website.


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