22 Jun
The Australian recycling crisis

The Australian recycling crisis

At a glance, Australia seems to keep up with international standards. We recycle about 51% of household waste, which aligns with leading countries like Switzerland.

But when you take a closer look, you realise that 48% of Australians don’t really know how to recycle properly.

This results in:

  • 30% of recyclable materials going to landfill
  • 10% of un-recyclable materials going into kerbside recycling

Where does the recycling go?

We often believe that once something is recycled, it’s removed from landfill and used for making new sustainable products. But we’re missing a vital step which could change everything.

Our recycling industry currently recycles waste which is sent overseas and processed into materials for reuse. This is because we lack the infrastructure to handle processing all our waste.

But since the start of this year, our biggest importer, China, has introduced new restrictions on recycled material. Strict regulations control how much contamination and waste is allowed in recycled material, and unfortunately Australian material doesn’t make the cut.

The result is a major disruption to our recycling industry, which needs to remove over 600,000 tonnes of material – this equals $523 million a year.

What happens next?

Recycled material in Australia will continue to grow and be stockpiled. Without proper processing infrastructure, we can’t produce material to be reused.

The current cost of processing recycled material is too high, so companies are buying non-recycled materials instead. State and local governments will need to take action before the situation gets worse.

But don’t worry!

A number of local recycling centres have decided to take matters into their own hands, like the Balcatta Recycling Shop.

Stay tuned for our next update to see how the BRS single-handedly recycles and processes material for reuse! We’ll also show you how to recycle effectively with us.


For more info about our what you can recycle and donate, give us a call at
(08) 9445 6591.

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