Wednesday 1 November 2023
Think Globally, Act Locally
Re: National Recycling Week, 13 – 19 November 2023
National Recycling Week (NRW) has been held every year since its inception in 1996, and this year will be held from 13th – 19th November.
Given the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, along with concerns of climate change and other forms of environmental degradation, the ‘4Rs’ of waste management (Reduce, Reuse, Repair and Recycle) have become increasingly important as both money- saving and environment-saving measures.
Australia is still very much a throw-away society. People’s attitudes and behaviours must change. Unfortunately, mass-market consumerism makes this difficult; it is often cheaper and easier to buy a new item than repair an old one. Advertising needs to become much greener in this respect; together with social media ‘influencers’. Also, the current taxation system encourages ‘frivolous’ expenditures during the EOFY sales in order to ‘beat’ the ATO.
In addition, it is still very difficult (and expensive) to buy more environmentally- sustainable materials (think of how many items still come wrapped in non-recyclable plastic). Where possible, try to buy products wrapped in reusable or recyclable materials. If there are not any, put pressure on business to offer such packaging.
However, as a start, there is a very useful list of recycled products: Recycled Products Directory – Planet Ark Recycling Near You
The recycling of items in the waste stream needs to be more accepting of a broader range of materials: too often, ‘eco’ bins have so many limitations on what can be accepted that people find it easier just to dump everything into landfill. This has to change and needs political and commercial investment in suitable recycling technologies.
If you want to find out more, please check the NRW website, where there is a wealth of resources to help with recycling, whether at home, at work, in schools or via community and council actions: www.planetark.org/programs/national-recycling-week