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Recycling – what you need to know

Queensland Container Refund Scheme

From November 1, Queenslanders were able to claim a 10¢ refund for most plastic drink containers, beer bottles and aluminium cans at one of more than 200 collection points across the state.

On 5 November 2018, Queensland Environment Minister. Leeanne Enoch, said 10 million containers had been returned through the scheme: “This means more than $1 million has gone back to Queenslanders and charities. This is also just the beginning of the scheme, and these figures will continue to grow as more Queenslanders get on board.”

Strong support for recycling in Australia

Research by Planet Ark for National Recycling Week found over 90 per cent of Australians believe recycling is the right thing to do and 59 per cent support kerbside recycling.

Common mistakes

Australia has had kerbside recycling for about 30 years but simple mistakes can clog up recycling machines, degrade the value of recycled materials, increase waste going to landfill and increase the cost of recycling.

Over 180 councils across Australia said the top recycling mistake was throwing soft plastics, such as bread bags which get caught in sorting machines, into the recycling bin.

Other common mistakes were putting recyclable material into bags, which have to be sorted out manually and end up in landfill, and throwing food scraps and organics in the recycling bin, which makes paper mushy and clogs up machinery.

Difficulties faced and information needed

There has never been a more difficult time for managing Australia’s waste after China’s National Sword policy banned 99 per cent of the recyclable material previously imported from Australia from January 2018.

The research found two-thirds of Australians would pay $1 to $2 extra a week in council rates to cover the cost of kerbside recycling and that 61 per cent of Australians still need more information about what can be recycled.

The biggest waste problems Councils face are how to deal with food and organic waste and developing markets for recyclables in Australia.

Do you have any queries?

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Please note that this article has been prepared by Margaret Miller, partner of Bell Legal Group, for information purposes only. It is not legal advice nor should it be relied upon as such.