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National Recycling Week (in mid-November) focuses our attention on the ‘circular economy’. These words convey that we can still be productive and not damage the earth! Planet Ark shows how we can go circular and provides an amazing resource with links on where to go and what to do with and for pre-loved goods: Planet Ark recycling guide. 

Planet Ark reports that in the 20 years to 2015, Australia’s population increased by 28% and waste levels grew by 170%. But, the good news is that recycling is growing at an even faster rate than waste.

Currently the Australian manufacturing economy is predominantly linear, which can be summarised as ‘take, make, use and, dispose’.  This is not sustainable. A circular economy on the other hand, replaces ‘dispose’ with ‘recycle, reuse and repurpose’ and keeps important materials like plastic, metal and paper in circulation from being wasted in landfill.

“Since the introduction of kerbside recycling in the 80s and 90s Australians have really embraced recycling. But to truly close the recycling loop, and keep valuable resources like plastic, metal and paper in circulation and out of landfills, we need to buy back the products that have been made from our recycling,” says Ryan Collins, Planet Ark’s Recycling Programs Manager.

New research from Planet Ark’s new guide What Goes Around: Why Buying Recycled Matters shows 88% of Australians already purchase products that contain recycled materials, and 70% 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%), toilet tissue (75%) and paper towels (78%).

However, the new research also shows there is less awareness about other products that can be made using recycled materials, such as road surfaces, paving and even fashion.

“We’re actually surrounded by products made from our recycling, and people may be surprised by some of the recycled products out there, like wallets and purses made from tyre inner tubes; surfboard fins made from ocean plastic; eye glasses made from milk bottle lids; fencing made from printer cartridges; as well as shampoo bottles and shopping bags made from recycled PET plastic and even pet litter made from recycled paper. Also, inspiring discoveries from research and development projects are finding more and more ways to utilise waste, so the list of products made from recycled materials will continue to grow,” Collins says.

National Recycling Week 2017 is kindly supported by Major Sponsor Naturale Tissue Products, Associate Sponsors Bingo Industries and ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’, Supporting Sponsors MobileMuster, Planet Ark 100% Australian Recycled Paper (Australian Paper), Tetra Pak and Tyre Stewardship Australia and Prize Partners Biome, eWood Gardens and Replas.