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Geography - Research Action Plan - Waste Management - Recycling in Australia

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Yousheng Li

on 10 March 2014

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Transcript of Geography - Research Action Plan - Waste Management - Recycling in Australia

By Yousheng Li
The aim of this investigation is
to investigate waste recycling
in Australia, how it is recycled,
what is recycled, the impact
recycling has on the environment
and how Australia's recycling
system compares to the rest of the
- What is recycling?
- What can be recycled?
- How is it recycled?
- What percentage of garbage is recycled?
- How is recycling managed in Australia?
- How efficient is Australia's recycling system?
- How does Australia's recycling system compare to the rest of the world?
- http://www.environment.gov.au/wastepolicy/publications/waste-recycling2011.html
- http://www.sita.com.au/community-education/site-tours-education/fact-sheets/
- http://economicstudents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/k.jpg
A variety of sources and data is necessary for this task in order to obtain reliable and accurate information. Several websites from the internet, especially those affiliated with official recycling organizations, as well as their surveys and results, plus magazines and journals, and also books (especially those with an emphasis on sustainable development, waste management and recycling) can help provide this data for this task. Primary data may be more difficult to obtain in this situation, owing to the need for long-term and widespread information Australia-wide and even worldwide, however research and observations can also help with this.
The data should be collected, analyzed and presented in a straightforward manner that is easy for the viewer to see.

Australians currently recycles around 51% of its waste. Waste generation per capita is around
2140kg, with 1090kg per capita being recycled.
Around 93% of Australians have access to recycling services.
The following graphs and images provide more
Per capita waste generation for each state/territory. As you can see, data is unfortunately missing for the State of Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
Australia compares favorably to most developing countries and many developed countries, including the US, Canada, and England, but is way behind countries such as Germany. Germany's 61% of waste is recycled, and the Netherlands' 66%, as compared to Australia's 40 percent
Some information and facts in relation to recycling:
- Australians recycle 30.3% of their steel cans, yet only 67.4% of aluminium cans.
- 376,000 tonnes of plastic is used every year; 288,194 of these tonnes is recycled.
- Landfill not only pollutes in the environment; it also releases toxic gases such as methane.
- Some wastes include toxic chemicals such as mercury, cadmium, chromium and lead, which are released at landfills.
- The Australian Government has developed a National Waste Policy to target increased recycling and waste management systems by 2020.
The data, information and statistics show that while Australia is performing to a satisfactory standard in recycling its waste, it is still behind several countries (Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, etc.). As the data shows, while Australia is recycling more than ~50% of waste, the Government has announced plans to bring this up to ~70%.


There are numerous ways to help recycling:
- Implement
a more successful recycling system. While most households have their recycling emptied every few weeks, in remoter parts of the country this may amount to once a month, once a year or even a 'as required' service. Around ~7% of Australians have no access to an efficient recycling system whatsoever.
- Encourage
makers and manufacturers of products to utilize materials with a lower environmental footprint; and discourage using toxic or materials that cannot be recycled, or those that do not decompose. As productivity continues to rise, we need to ensure that the waste being produced in environmentally friendly, especially hazardous waste.
- Lower
the costs associated with recycling. The current costs of industrial-level recycling means many companies are reluctant to pay for more environmentally friends methods.
- Enforce
and ensure that what can be recycled is actually being recycled; this includes installing harsh penalties for those who fail to separate their waste correctly, or contaminate recycling bins with normal garbage.
This graph demonstrates how Australian
households are managing their waste.
Household waste management is currently
a lot better than the waste management
at an industrial level, by companies
- Reward
those who recycle. An example of this put into affect is in the American state of Philadelphia; by converting pounds of recycled material into cash that can be used to buy environmentally friendly products at local stores. This encourages families to recycle, and, in effect, by low environmental impact products that can be recycled.
- Educational programs
and strategies that aim to promote appropriate handling of waste.
- Larger surveys
on recycling to gain insight and more detailed data.
- Establish
more companies who provide recycling services to increase competition and the quality of service; while decreasing costs. The current regulations means that it is difficult for smaller operators to get a permit to provide recycling services.
“Recycling” is the process in which materials deemed no longer needed is changed, or recycled, into new products, in order to prevent wastage of useful materials and also to reduce pollution, landfill, greenhouse gases and energy usage. Generally, materials eligible for recycling include glass, paper, some metals, most plastics, textiles, and some electronics. Most other products are unable to be recycled and thus end up mostly in landfills, thus polluting the Earth and its biosphere. Recycling involves both producing the same material that was originally recycled, as well as producing different materials that are still useful in products.
A pretty simple and basic concept, at its basic level it merely means converting something discarded into something useful again. On a larger scale, which is the focus of this Research Action Project, recycling involves waste that are collected from many areas, converted into their raw materials and re-made. An example of this is recycling paper; the fibers in the paper are broken down to form recycled paper, though with its poorer quality recycled paper is less desirable in most circumstances; but also cheaper.
In Australia, recycling is managed and organized by the
Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR)
, and is federally governed by the
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
. There are also policies and departments of the state level, managed independently by the Australian states and territories.
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