National Recycling Week is celebrated from November 9-15, and for more than two decades Planet Ark has been inspiring and promoting positive behavioural change through this highly regarded program. This event focuses on making all of us better at recycling and managing our rubbish, highlighting the importance of reducing our waste at home, school and work, and making sure that we recycle correctly.
National Recycling Week helps create a better understanding of what happens to our rubbish and recyclables after they leave our bins. Its message is all about how to improve our environmental footprint by supplying ideas and tips. By following the waste hierarchy – reduce, reuse and recycle – Planet Ark concentrates on motivating households, schools, workplaces and councils to rethink their rubbish.
Planet Ark understands that recycling can be confusing, particularly after China’s ban on accepting our recyclables and the media’s coverage of the ‘waste crisis’. That said, the organisation is committed to restoring the community’s trust in the recycling program and educating us how to recycle properly to ensure recycling is sustainable in Australia. This includes creating a conversation around rethinking our waste, so we eventually see it as a valuable resource that can be used to make new products.
It also strives to engage Australians and inform them of the vital nature of closing the recycling loop by purchasing items that are made from recycled content, which is pivotal in generating a sustainable future for all. In fact, this works because it keeps recycled material in circulation for as long as possible, which benefits the environment because it reduces the use of virgin materials for new products as well as cutting down on the energy and water required to make them. Australia needs National Recycling Week to bring these issues into the spotlight.
What springs to mind are the COVID-19 hygiene practices that have been introduced and their possible impact on the planet. After so much focus on stamping out single-use items – especially plastics – we’ve seen a resurgence in the use of plastic straws, takeaway containers, coffee cups and masks. Their disposability is key for hygiene and to stop the spread of the disease – but at what cost? While we must follow the Chief Health Officer’s directions for the majority of these items, why not make a solid effort during National Recycling Week to use or create reusable face masks, or at least cut the mask strings to prevent wildlife getting tangled in them if they end up in our waterways and bushland.
What steps can you take to reduce your environmental footprint?