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Why doesn’t Australia Recycle its Own Waste?

Why doesn’t Australia Recycle its Own Waste?
By Simon Williams
July 1, 2019

Waste management has become one of the more contentious issues in Australia since China placed an import ban on all overseas waste. For a lot of Australians, news that we outsourced our waste management was probably new; although waste exports are nothing new, with many countries around the world opting for similar policies and processes. The question that springs to mind now that China has ceased accepting our waste is; what do we do with it?

Waste management in Australia

Waste management shouldn’t be a problem we pass onto someone else. As a country, we should be recycling our waste and using it to drive genuine improvements in our manufacturing industries. Plastic production presents a very real problem and one that society is quickly caring more and more about. Consumer views on plastic have begun to change in the age of climate change. It is now suddenly so much less palatable to create new plastic products whose destiny is nothing more than landfill. Rather than adding to the problem with new plastic production, the solution lies in our ability to establish a circular economy. A circular economy is where organisations are encouraged or incentivised to use recycled plastic products in their production processes. This kind of recycling can help reduce plastic production and landfill by hundreds of thousands of tonnes each year. 

What kind of impact can a circular economy have on Australia?

The circular economy impact will not only help improve environmental outcomes but will also stimulate an entire industry for Australians. The challenge is one for both business and governments, however. Currently, there is no regulation in place driving the use of recycled plastics in production processes for big business. Leaders in the industry have begun setting their own targets, realising the importance and benefits of sustainable practices. Those who haven’t are only doing what businesses are designed to do, prioritising low costs to ensure returns to shareholders. Despite this, change is still needed. Whether it comes in the form of new regulations or organisations coming together to commit to the problem together, some form of agreement is required.

The future of recycling in Australia

As a country, it is time we recognised the need for stimulation of our recycling industry. Through international partnerships and agreements, we have skated by, putting the issue to the back of our minds. There are a number of organisations who have begun addressing the issue in their products and production processes, but not all of them. It’s time as a country, consumers and individuals to address this issue head-on and drive our recycling industry forward. Recycling our own waste shouldn’t just be a social conscious concern but an economic program. Establishing a circular economy will help prop up an industry calling for help as well as driving environment sustainability further.

Cartridges Direct are proud to be part of the movement, educating and enforcing the recycling of printer cartridges. To find out how you can mobilise your efforts at home or work, visit Cartridges Direct online or call 1300 765 575.


Jackie Yowell wrote:

Very good to see a company taking the initiative of acknowledging their own responsibility in the issue of waste . And encouraging other companies and consumers to understand the necessity of a circular economy . Well done! I represent a growing number of consumers who will give preference to purchasing from such socially responsible producers and retailers.

On 14/7/2019 2:31 PM

John Ilmenstein wrote:

The excuse that companies must make huge profits at a cost to the environment to appease shareholders is proving highly un-viable for this planet and its inhabitants. Huge profits are derived from someone or something suffering. To make someone or something suffer to appease shareholders is an ongoing disgrace, Shareholders need to be re-educated that their gambling problem not only encourages detrimental effects for the environment it also creates a growing divide between the haves and the have nots. Shareholders rarely make consistent profits to match the remunerations that CEOs of many companies make. This is where the problem starts. CEOs are paid astronomical amounts and told that they will be paid even more for bigger profits to keep the shareholders happy. Justification for ruining the environment starts here. The problem is GREED and the outcome is that the environment and suffering on this planet will only get worse as the population grows exponentially creating more opportunities for greed to overtake. I have no answers but hope I have raised many more questions.

On 10/7/2019 3:43 PM


Great and valid article- but yes you recycle but are your product that you buy made from recycled materials??? If so what % is Australian ?

On 9/7/2019 8:32 AM

ned fenton wrote:

I often wonder, when we run out of oil, for the billions of cars, boats ,planes, trucks ,and the thousand of other things that are poluting our planet , that use petroleum ,how will they make plastic ?, They won't stop making it , I reckon that the companies ,that profit from the manufacture of plastic items ,should be responsible for its recycle, ah well, ho hum, Ned

On 8/7/2019 12:27 PM

Evan Roberts wrote:

I totally agree. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Stop the production of single use plastics. Replace plastics with biodegradable substitutes and recycle everything, including aluminium cans.

On 8/7/2019 11:22 AM