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Help reduce waste during recycling week

National Recycling Week
Bundaberg Regional Council Waste and recycling portfolio spokesperson Cr Tanya McLoughlin is encouraging residents to recycle right. Photo: file

Community members are being encouraged to remember what goes around, comes around as part of Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week.

National Recycling Week kicks off on 13 November and runs until 19 November.

Bundaberg Regional Council and Planet Ark are reminding locals that much of what is currently sent to landfill is actually valuable material that could be reused, repurposed or recycled as part of National Recycling Week 2023.

This year’s theme, ‘What Goes Around, Comes Around', is all about providing simple and actionable tips that enable locals to keep those valuable materials in circulation, whether at home, work or school.

Addressing food waste and ensuring packaging is correctly recycled therefore forms a major component of this year’s National Recycling Week resources and activities.

Waste and Recycling portfolio spokesperson Cr Tanya McLoughlin said Council was getting involved by providing an opportunity for residents to learn simple methods of reducing their environmental footprint.

Cr Mcloughlin said during October and November a local Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) trial was rolled out to about 1300 households to help reduce unnecessary waste going to landfill.

She said residents in the Svensson Heights and Avenell Heights were currently undertaking the trial which would significantly reduce the amount of local waste.

“Household food organics and garden organics (FOGO) accounts for about 57% of the waste being sent to landfill through the Bundaberg Region’s kerbside bin collection,” Cr McLoughlin said.

“That’s 17,000 tonnes of food scraps and green waste going to landfill every year.

“During Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week it’s important to remember our everyday food scraps and lawn clippings can be repurposed and turned into nutrient-rich compost.

“When these materials end up in landfill it contributes to the production of the harmful greenhouse gas, methane which is made by rotting food scraps and garden materials.”

In the 2022-23 financial year Bundaberg Region community members prevented almost 7000 tonnes of waste from going to landfill by recycling the following amounts:

  • Paper and cardboard – 4500 tonne
  • Pet 1 plastics – 120 tonne
  • Milk bottles -= 130 tonne
  • Shrink wrap – 100 tonne
  • Mixed plastics – 100 tonne
  • Ag drums – 100 tonne
  • Wheelie bins – 20 tonne
  • Fertilizer bags – 20 tonne
  • Glass –  1300 tonne
  • Al cans – 50 tonne
  • Tin cans – 160 tonne
  • Scrap steel – 220 tonnes
    Total: 6820 tonnes

National Recycling Week first launched in 1996

Last year, Planet Ark research revealed Australian households were potentially sending nearly 2.5 million tonnes of unnecessary waste to landfill.

It revealed an estimated 9 – 18% (441,000 tonnes conservatively) of all material sent to landfill by households is likely recyclable, while a massive 41 – 52% (2,000,900 tonnes conservatively) could be composted at home or organic processing facilities.

Planet Ark CEO Rebecca Gilling said National Recycling Week was founded in 1996 as an opportunity for Australians to take waste and recycling into their own hands by improving their recycling knowledge and building better recycling habits.

“This year Planet Ark is asking Australians to pause and think about what they are currently sending to landfill and ask whether it is waste after all,” Rebecca said.

“We have come a long way since National Recycling Week was established in 1996, but there is still more we could be doing to ensure valuable resources don’t end up wasted in landfill, especially when it comes to food waste and recycling our packaging.”

Planet Ark has a number of tools and tips to enable community groups, councils, households and workplaces to get involved and start reducing waste in the National Recycling Week Resource Hub.

To learn more or get involved in National Recycling Week, click here.

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