Only a small percentage of the glass is recoverable for recycling and the rest ends up as road base or stockpiled indefinitely. It also contaminates the paper and cardboard with shards and ground glass, reducing its quality and value.
In South Australia, we have a well-established network recovering glass bottles with a 10-cent deposit, but it does not include wine bottles. This is a clean collection that goes from the recycling depot, already sorted by colour for 100% recycling!
Similarly, we chew up virgin office paper made from plantation trees grown for that purpose and clean white office paper needs to be valued for the resource-heavy product that it is. Firstly, always use both sides and secondly it needs to go to a dedicated paper collection so it will be recycled into white office paper.
During covid medical waste has grown exponentially with so much single-use PPE (masks, gowns) and medical equipment used in our hospitals, rehabilitation, and aged care facilities and homes and it’s not been going into a hazardous waste bin, most are landfilled and will take hundreds of years to break down! We need to get landfill reduction back on track.
Single-use plastics like cutlery, straws, polystyrene cups and containers have been banned but we still sell fresh fruit in plastic tubes and tubs. Plastic packaging must be reduced and getting regulators to change things is so slow it is ineffective, so we need to change the way we purchase and boycott apples in tubes!
One-third of food purchased by households is thrown out in the packaging, unopened and wasted, wasting all the resources that went into producing it. We must value our food and ensure any scraps from home, hospitality, business, events, and facilities are collected for composting and not landfilled where they break down and produce greenhouse gases.
Overconsumption in this throwaway culture needs to change. Rethink, repair, refill, and reuse need to be the preferred ACTIONS before recycling.