Muswellbrook Shire Council tackling the War on Waste

AS Australia’s population and waste levels continue to rise, recycling matters now more than ever in the Upper Hunter.

And, this year Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week, from November 13 to 19, highlights why recycling is only part of the battle.

What happens to materials once they have been recycled and how everyone plays a part in the process is a key focus of this year’s National Recycling Week campaign.

Residents and businesses in the Muswellbrook Shire Council area can help win the War on Waste and close the recycling loop by purchasing products that contain recycled content. 

“Since the introduction of kerbside recycling in the 80s and 90s, locals have embraced recycling,” Planet Ark’s recycling programs manager Ryan Collins said.

“But, to truly close the recycling loop, and keep valuable resources in circulation and out of landfills, we need to buy back the products that have been made from our recycling.”

New research from Planet Ark’s new guide What Goes Around: Why Buying Recycled Matters shows 88 per cent of Australians already purchase products that contain recycled materials, and 70 per cent said they would be more likely to purchase products and/or packaging if they contained recycled materials. 

Most Australians also have high awareness of some products that can be made with recycled materials including office paper (83 per cent), toilet tissue (75 per cent) and paper towels (78 per cent). 

However, new research also shows there is less awareness about other products that can be made using recycled materials, such as road surfaces, printer cartridges, paving and carpet underlay.

“When consumers and businesses purchase products that are made from recycled materials, they create a demand for recycling, which supports Australian industry, allows new recycled manufacturing opportunities to flourish and creates jobs,” Mr Collins said.

“As well as being good for the environment, the financial benefits of this closed loop cycle are significant. 

“It’s estimated that by 2025 the circular economy in Australia could be worth $26 billion.”

To make it easier for consumers and businesses to buy recycled products, Planet Ark has created a handy online directory to raise awareness that these products are available and plentiful.

Planet Ark is also launching a new annual event. 

Buy It Back Day, on Saturday, November 18, will encourage the community to celebrate National Recycling Week through mindful purchasing; by buying something second-hand or buying a product made from recycled materials. 

Council’s Sustainabilty Unit will be holding several events during National Recycling Week including a Denman Family Day and TransCare Seniors Day.