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RECYCLING : is it a farce in Australia?


Someone has been listening! Or have they?
Does anyone else think this is a bit of a con job not the public?

Is this just another way to get us to put less in the recycling bin and make life easier for the recycling industry and government?

My read on this is unless an item has the new logo, which is meant to improve recycling it goes in the landfill. Except we have a world full of products and packaging that is already labeled. More critically given so much of our products are imported, will the overseas supplier change just for our market. Some will and no doubt charge twice as much because it is a special for Australia. Will customs reject any imports that don’t use our standard recycling logo? What a great way to lock out buying overseas?
Perhaps that is a step too far and would breech FTAs.

What is the insentive for a retailer or manufacturers to put this logo on anything. Perhaps they could all pay a package disposal tax for every item that does not carry the new logo on all of the packaging?

What’s wrong with the current international system? Nothing except for our recycling industry and governments that do not want to align with it because they will have to change to make it happen.

The problem with recycling is not the consumer. It’s the industry and retailers/suppliers that are the root cause.


It is all of the above, but local governments might be the root cause. Some council programs take recycling others will not leading to confusion even while many of us are confused anyway.

I got a ‘tick of approval’ on my recycling when it was inspected, and that seems to happen when there is a change of resident or when something added is visibly suspect. Yet there remain things I need to check about on the council web site, and that presentation is not always as explicit and simple as it should and could be.

The outcome is usually when in doubt it goes to landfill. Hence dumbing it down might lead to better take up but that middle ‘check’ tag is not helpful since it includes most of the current problem rolled into one. Following on, how to get the 3 tags onto products? It could be done at least as elegantly as forcing the multinational onlines to collect GST :roll_eyes:

What keeps me sane when reading about so many of our councils’ overstepping and ridiculous actions is that they still appear to be years behind the ludicrous actions of their UK counterparts.


I thawed out 2 packs of frozen steaks for dinner last night.

The porterhouse steak I had bought marked down some weeks ago was on a traditional styrofoam tray but the rib-on-bone steak I had bought marked down a few days ago was on a new type of clear plastic tray.

A local recycling business told me a couple of years ago that styrofoam is one of the very few things that they cannot recycle so it appears that the plastic trays are a step in the right direction.

The plastic tray also has deep ribbing on the bottom so it does not need a soaker pad.


Was there a recycling symbol and number on the clear tray?
Is it on the local council list for items that will be recycled?

Many hard plastics can be recycled, however in the end they meet an alternate fate.


Here is the link to the manufacturer’s website.


It looks great, and all the better to be from some recycled materials.
There is nothing in the manufacturer’s data to confirm it has a recycling symbol and number moulded into the tray.

No number, no symbol, no recycle. It will not be accepted by council?

If it has the marking fine. If not it would be interesting to know why. Is it because the container tray has been in contact with raw meat products that it should not go to recycle? It all looks a little dodgy from here.


Although there are some consistent guidelines, there are also many mixed messages about whether food containers need to be washed prior to going in the recycling bin. One message is they do (cost of water, time, detergent on ‘us’) and the other message is that is a waste because with the plethora of items collected and the sorting process goes through a wash anyway.

A partial answer is at

The US is as messed up as we are on the topic but highlights they deal with greater local disparities than even ourselves.

and my local council ‘cleverly avoids’ what to do.

but the closer is this SBS report that might be deemed cynical although realistic.


An interesting article on recycling.


The article states ‘only half of the respondents were prepared to pay more’ and of those who would pay more ‘four out of five said they would only pay up to an additional $10 per week.’

How that gets distilled into 80% would pay more in the byline should be embarrassing to The Guardian even though the article is complete. 80% of 50% is 40%. Conclusion, it pays to read articles not just the headline click bait :wink:


Definitely pays. The challenge for many unfortunately if Naplan data is half reliable is that too many of us can’t make the simple statistical connection.

The gold standard in not understanding basic statistics remains the latest Prime Minister and a recent statement Australia is on track to meet it’s Paris agreement targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions for 2030. If only he had read the April 2018 Issued annual National Inventory Report by the Dept of Environment and Energy, or their published Australia’s Emissions Projections 2017 report.

With market share, volume growth and margins all key factors in understanding marketing outcomes, is this why Hon S Morrison has now chosen a path other than marketing?

We ask a lot of others sometimes?
Although for now we have stopped recycling Prime Ministers.


I am confident he understands but ignores statistics as well as disregards evidence that does not support his predisposition. I am equally confident he thinks he can spout anything and his core voters will accept it no questions asked except the routine Dorothy Dixers, and enough swing voters might believe him to be more inclined to vote LNP.

Admit nothing, claim credit for anything you can, spin everything into all good, criticize those who call you out as haters and breakers, and smile for the cameras. Thus ends my Introduction to being a pollie and especially PM. The PM does seem to have smiled more since becoming PM than in all his previous time in parliament, or is that just my imagination?


Hi Mark,

I have another of those trays.

One corner has a recycling symbol with “1” in the middle of it and the letters “RPET” beneath it

Another corner has “T4105’ with “Recycled Plastic” beneath it.

Ours came from our local Supa IGA but here is a link to Coles using RPET trays.


That’s great @Fred123, even better it uses recycled plastic. Will keep an eye out here with Woolies to see if they catch on too.


I listen to the US NPR podcast Planet Money regularly, and one of their recent episodes discussed how recycling is done in the States. Apparently it is entirely business-driven - and if a business cannot make money from a particular recyclable it goes to land-fill.

This is not the kind of model I would like to see in Australia. We need governments - that are already collecting our recyclables - to make sure they get recycled!


“Its”, not “it’s” - the latter represents “it is”.

/pedant out

He is simply saying what his party’s funding base wants him to say. They don’t want him to do anything, but he needs to say things are happening.


“It’s” great to see @

and @

rally to the defence of the PM and his statistical prowess.:thinking:

I’ll not pretend a sound knowledge of language and refrain in future from using “it’s” where I could have avoided ambiguity, laziness and used in full “Australia’s”.:wink:


The government thinks they can break encryption, on the fly, with a well greased abacus - statistics should, at least 90% of the time, be a walk in the park …


OT but that needs a reply.

An issue in public and civil discourse is the increasing tendency to present ‘the other side’ as being inept, uneducated, run by cabals, and sometimes just stupid, thus demeaning them as people. Sometimes them being clueless is an accurate portrayal and regardless, how could one describe this failed candidate’s apparent skills?

Most successful pollies are cunning and can be stone headedly focused on what they want to accomplish despite seemingly intractable barriers to get there, be it borders, taxes, or name your favourite issue of the times. Sometimes they recognise fights that are not going to be won so they find another to keep us raging, that they think can be a win.

The few pollies I have personally engaged with (eg a micro sample), both Liberal and Labor, each showed a blend of understanding the issues at the personal level, but never left their party lines no matter how flawed, no matter what evidence was in their faces. The problem could be party structures and how they select candidates, but that would stray even further.

I was taken with the series

It showed an approach softer than an overcooked noodle as well as that MPs are humans who can be articulate and engaging when it suits, although rarely even subject matter novices or journeymen.

Did I state an opinion or did I rally to the defence? Interesting how my statement was interpreted as you did.


Accepted @BBG, it may not be about the ability of an individual (eg the current PM) to understand but a choice to ignore information to serve other needs. In which instance there is nothing to defend. It is too easy (for me) to become distracted from the core topic.

Environment and Communications References Committee Never waste a crisis: the waste and recycling industry in Australia June 2018

The recent Senate Committee report - has caught up with this thread - at least by the sub-heading which is very direct in it’s language:

Never waste a crisis: the waste and recycling industry in Australia

As a sample of the tone of the report to the Senate:

Recommendation 1
8.18 The committee recommends that the Australian Government prioritise
the establishment of a circular economy in which materials are used, collected,
recovered, and re-used, including within Australia.

Recommendation 2
8.19 The committee recommends that the Australian Government show
leadership through the urgent implementation of the 16 strategies established
under the National Waste Policy.

Recommendation 3
8.20 The committee recommends that the Australian Government prioritise
waste reduction and recycling above waste-to-energy, and seek a commitment
through the Meeting of Environment Ministers of all levels of government to the
waste hierarchy.

It’s a lengthy read - and highlights many of the areas in which there are gaps between current objectives and practices.


Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan has passed away.

Let’s hope someone with equal passion and ability picks up the ball to keep it happening.