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20 Recycling Statistics & Facts Australia (2024)

Published in category
by All Gone Admin
Volunteer helping recycling

In a world full of waste streams, Australia stepped up to resolve the problem. The local councils manage the recycling project, with their own rules about what can and cannot go in recycling bins.

This article will help you understand how the Australian government and its citizens tackle the problems of rubbish and how they recycle it to reduce the amount of pollution and other things.

Misunderstanding the Recycling Procedure in Australia

Australia's recycling statistics show an accumulated amount of waste generation that ends up in landfills, particularly plastic packaging. 

The federal government, state, and local councils are trying to address this concern and have supported numerous municipal solid waste endeavours. 

This includes a reduction in garbage disposal on dumping grounds by 80%  but excludes construction and demolition waste.

However, there needs to be a better understanding at all stages of the procedures of the recycling process, such as 47% of Australians assume that soft plastics are recyclable. 

Most households are not aware that food containers must not contain food waste before placing them in a recycling bin. 

Others believe they could put just about anything in the recycling bins and the recycling facilities will be the ones to sort those items.

The state’s growing population and an individual’s multiplied consumption contribute to the continuous landfill waste generation build-up.

The Australian Government just revealed its recycling plan to put $190 million into a Recycling Modernisation Fund to increase the country's recycling rate.

This investment is expected to attract $600 million in recycling investments and lead to a billion-dollar upgrade of Australia's waste and recycling capabilities, helping to address the generation of municipal solid waste and other organic waste.

Stuff that is usually found in kerbside recycling bins, which shouldn't be there includes:

  • Paper towels
  • Clothing and other textiles 
  • Building materials, like pieces of timber or bricks
  • Lead Acid Batteries contribute to e-waste
  • Plastic waste, single-use plastics, and other plastic products
  • Broken glassware, glass bottles, mirrors or glass from a photo frame
  • Food containers with food waste
  • Aluminium cans and other materials

Get rid of junk and general waste and keep your home clean and safe to live. 

Book a rubbish removal service today to remove e-waste, drink bottles, wastepaper, large and bulky boxes, plastic waste, and more.

What is Kerbside Recycling?

Kerb recycling is a method where residents sort, collect, transport, and put recyclable materials in designated containers. This approach benefits residents and the environment in more ways than one, such as:

  • Obtaining higher-quality, pre-sorted recyclable waste at collection points
  • Significant reduction in time consumed during material segregation and sorting at the waste treatment facility
  • Stimulate higher perception among residents about municipal solid waste and recycling practices   
  • It can help save 11,000 mega-litres of water that can fill more than 4,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools
  • It can also cut back 386,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions

5 Major Reasons Why You Should Recycle

The biennial 2022 National Waste Report notes that Australia generated about 3% more waste compared to 2018 to 2019. Additionally, the report stated the country’s recycling rate stays at 60%

The biggest waste categories included building and demolition materials (25.1 million tons), organics (14.4 million tons), ash (12.0 million tons), and hazardous waste (7.4 million tons).

On the other hand, recycling and resource recovery rates were top for metals (87%), building materials (81%), paper and cardboard (62%), organics (58%), and glass (59%).

As more trash fills the world every day, you can do something about it to preserve the planet and continue living a sustainable life.

The world needs your waste and recycling capability. Proper recycling is the key.

Here are the major reasons why you need to start recycling today.

1. Pollution

Collecting, purifying, and treating raw materials leads to the contamination of air and water. However, recycling helps to minimise these activities, thereby reducing pollution levels.

Extracting raw materials can result in significant pollution. By increasing recycling, you can reduce the need for extraction and subsequently decrease pollution levels. 

Moreover, prioritising recycling means minimising the amount of material that ends up in landfills. This is crucial because materials decaying in landfills release methane, a greenhouse gas that is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. 

2. Reduce Landfill

By reusing municipal solid waste that would typically be discarded, we can reduce the amount of space needed for landfills and lessen the demand for additional waste disposal facilities.

It is crucial to minimise the amount of household waste that ends up in landfills because everything you create is crafted from precious and finite resources.

You should strive to preserve as much of these resources as possible for future utilisation. 

Reducing waste must start at home. Family members must learn waste management and avoidance to limit the total amount of waste generated.

Green waste can add up to rubbish dumped in landfills. Hire a professional garden waste collection removal service to pick them up on the same day. 

3. Reduce Raw Material Requirements

Acquiring raw materials from the environment can be costly. It also consumes a significant amount of water and energy.

Recycling minimises the necessity for extraction, thus preserving our valuable natural resources when using a recycled waste stream

4. Protect Animals and their Habitats

Recycling helps reduce the extraction of raw materials from the environment, which often leads to the destruction of natural habitats. Additionally, recycling lowers the amount of waste streams that seep into our waterways.

5. Lower Energy Usage

Recycling helps decrease the energy needed for extracting, refining, transporting, and processing raw materials into recycled products.

Important Facts About Paper & Cardboard Recycling

Australia is among the world’s leading countries in terms of paper and cardboard recycling at 87%. A person uses about 230kgs of un-recycled paper each year.

Here are some important paper recycling facts about the nation’s paper and cardboard: 

Paper and Cardboard Recycling Statistics

When paper, cardboard, and newsprint decompose in landfills, they produce methane, which adds to the problem of global warming.

Fact #1: Recycling a tonne of paper can save trees

In Australia, over 5.9 million tonnes of paper are dumped in landfills each year. Recycling just one tonne of paper can make a significant impact by saving 17 trees. 

Fact #2:  Recycling one tonne of paper can save 380 gallons of oil

A tonne of recycled paper saves more than 1,400 litres of oil used to manufacture new paper made of virgin materials, such as trees.

Fact #3: Recycling a tonne of paper can save energy

Every year, Australia recycles 2.3 million tonnes of paper and cardboard. It’s also the equivalent “daily” savings of more than 10 million homes’ monthly energy requirement.  

Fact #4: Recycling a tonne of paper can save three cubic yards of landfill space

Recycling one tonne of paper reduces the amount of rubbish dumped in landfills, saving cubic yards of landfill spaces.

Fact #5: Recycling a tonne of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water

Paper recycling saves water because it reduces the necessity for materials, especially water from virgin sources, particularly trees.

Fact #6: Australian paper and cardboard account for 16% of household rubbish ending in landfill

The paper alone accounts for nearly 26% of the entire waste at landfills.

Fact #7 Not all kinds of paper and cardboard are recyclable 

Remember that not every piece of paper and packaging in your home or office can be recycled such as:

  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Tissues
  • Nappies
  • Baking paper
  • Pizza boxes with food waste

Remember that oil, cheese, and pizza sauce can interfere with the recycling process and potentially contaminate the recycled product.

To ensure proper recycling, ensure the pizza boxes are free from any food waste.

Fact #8 In 2022, the rate of paper recycling remained almost constant at around 68%, similar to the rate observed in 2021

Almost half of the recycled paper is utilized in producing containerboard, which is the main material for cardboard boxes. 

Recycled paper is also commonly used in making boxes for dry foods such as cereal or pasta, tissue products like toilet paper and paper towels, and newspapers.

Fact #9 It is easier to produce recycled paper sheets than new ones

Recycled paper uses 50% less energy to make and helps reduce 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution.

Fact #10: One tonne of recycled paper can save over 3.3 cubic yards of landfill

Recycling a tonne of paper could save space in landfills. Overfilled landfills require expansion to the natural environment driving wildlife from their natural habitat.

Plastics Recycling Statistics

Plastic pollution is now a major environmental concern, with the fast-growing production of single-use plastics surpassing the capacity to manage them.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, recycling plastic waste can help the average family reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by up to 340 pounds every year through waste management.

Fact #11: Each year, approximately eight million tons of plastic waste, particularly plastic bags find its way into the oceans from coastal nations

This is equal to depositing 5 garbage bags of waste collection on every shoreline around the world.

Fact #12: Did you know that a single PET plastic bottle takes 700 years to begin decomposition?

Bacteria typically aid in the decomposing of organic matter as it avoid petroleum-based plastics. It means these plastics can persist indefinitely.

Approximately 1,500 plastic bottles are discarded in landfills or dumped into the ocean every second.

Fact #13: Plastics come in two types - thermoplastic and thermoset - but not all are recyclable

Thermoplastic and thermosets are two types of plastic that people usually throw in recycling bins not knowing that not all can be recycled. 

Thermoplastics are a type of plastic that can be melted and moulded again to create fresh products, making them recyclable. 

On the other hand, thermoset plastics have polymers that form a permanent chemical bond, preventing them from being melted and reused. 

Fact #14: Did you know that recycled bottles require 75% less energy to produce compared to new ones?

Recycling one bottle can result in a 75% reduction in energy consumption, and some studies indicate that this could be equivalent to removing 360,000 cars from the road, reducing greenhouse gases.

Fact #15: Experts anticipate that production will double by the year 2050

In 2050, Australia is projected to consume over twice the amount of plastic it currently does. 

Even with government efforts to promote a 'circular economy', only a small 14% of plastic waste is diverted from landfills.

Fact #16: An astonishing 79% of plastic waste still occupies landfill sites

Around 12% of plastic products have been incinerated, while others remain in landfills, which can contribute to climate change.

Fact #17: Australians produce nearly 60 kilogrammes of plastic waste per person more than anywhere else in the world

According to a Plastic Waste Makers Index 2021 report,  the country is the largest producer of plastic waste worldwide.

Fact #18: We could be eating microplastics already without knowing it

Studies show that plastic waste begins entering the food chain, as fish and other marine life start feeding on them. 

Fact #19: Nearly 15% of all generated plastic waste was recovered through composting, recycling, or energy recovery

Over the past two decades, these forms of plastic waste recovery haven't kept up with consumption and waste due to the difficulty of equaling plastic waste levels.

Fact #20: Australia is one of the largest single-use plastic per person globally

One million tonnes of Australia’s annual plastic consumption consists of 84% single-use plastics sent to landfill.

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