Australians generate 67 million tonnes of waste every year, with 50% coming from our homes and the other half from our workplaces. So you wouldn’t be alone if you thought that the recycling you diligently sort and put out in your bins is successfully recycled.
But, unfortunately, we are falling short of our recycling targets. So, where does your recycling go in Australia?
Of the 10kg of household waste made each week, just over half of that is recycled, resulting in a 67% recycling rate. The rest of the rubbish is disposed of in a landfill.
How does this happen? Australia’s technology is lacking, and we currently don’t have the infrastructure we need to sort mixed recycling effectively. Right now, there are almost 200 material recovery facilities in Australia. Nearly all of them hand sort. The good news is that this creates jobs. But we need more. The hand-sorting facilities, and the additional nine automated ones in service, are far too few to handle the country’s recycling needs.
There’s another issue holding back the success of your efforts to recycle. Recycling isn’t always successful because of contamination. Even if you put your recycling in the right bin, some of it might be contaminated with food, broken glass or plastic bags, so it ends up in landfill.