Sustainable living and limiting the negative impacts on our surrounding environment have never been more important, and recycling plays a major part in helping to make a difference.
National Recycling Week runs from Monday, November 13 to Sunday, November 19, and there is a wide range of ways that you can get involved this year.
Established by Planet Ark in 1996, the week focuses on the waste hierarchy of reduce, reuse and recycle to minimise strain on Earth's finite resources.
Last year, Planet Ark research revealed that Australian households send almost two and a half million tonnes of unnecessary waste to landfill. An estimated 441,000 tonnes of all household material sent to landfill is recyclable packaging, while a massive two million tonnes of organic material sent could be composted.
Planet Ark CEO Rebecca Gilling said these were huge numbers considering they only covered households and schools, businesses, and other facilities would contribute even more to the issue.
"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," she 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."
National Recycling Week's theme for 2023 is 'What Goes Around, Comes Around', with schools, community groups, and local governments hosting a huge selection of events and activities for individuals to get recycling.
A popular program that has seen various versions introduced across several regions is the 'Waste 2 Art' program. The initiative involves individuals and local artists, school children, and community groups following a theme each year as they turn household waste, rubbish, and disposables into works of art that can be displayed.
Fiona Howle, arts educator and ambassador for 'Waste 2 Art' in the Central West said the initiative was a great way to get people to look at recycling differently, rather than simply putting things in their council recycling bins.
"Waste 2 Art is an excellent opportunity to showcase your ideas into the community, and whether you're a beginner or a professional artist, anyone can join in and show the world what they can do," she said.
"I'm into upcycling, which is what happens when you take something that had a purpose and turn it into something new using your imagination, your tools and your materials."
Recycling can start to make a difference in the amount of waste we generate, but there are other ways to encourage recycling and upcycling.
Many companies now use recycling to lower their operating costs and to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable, especially when it comes to soft plastics and metal.
Some businesses take it a step further and focus on recycled materials, such as Zero Plastics Australia, which makes a wide range of products, including jewellery, stationery, toys, storage options, and more - all from recycled plastic.
To learn more about National Recycling Week programs and activities in your area, visit your local council's website or recyclingnearyou.com.au/nationalrecyclingweek.
National Recycling Week is here and InfraBuild is encouraging everyone to take part. From your old kettle and toaster though to cars which have seen better days, all of that steel can be collected and given another life.
InfraBuild recycling sites source around 1.4 million tonnes of scrap metal every year, shredding it into smaller pieces for sorting and then sending it to their steel mills. That scrap is fed into electric arc furnaces which produce steel billets which are used to construct everything from bedding springs and buildings to major road projects which include Sydney's WestConnex and Brisbane's Cross River Rail line.
Electric arc furnaces are crucial to decarbonising operations which is why many manufacturers are transitioning to the technology.
InfraBuild's longstanding vertically integrated operation ensures it has been part of the circular economy for the last 40 years. They will need to recycle more and more steel into the future with demand for their versatile products expected to double by 2050 and global growth dependent on its availability.
As we celebrate National Recycling Week it's a great opportunity to look at how everyone can help extend the lifecycle of steel and ensure scrap is available for reuse, by properly disposing of their steel items. It's also important to acknowledge the important of removing lithium batteries and disposing of these items separately and safely to avoid the fires we have seen in recent years.
With 26 scrap metal recycling sites across Australia, InfraBuild is also playing an important role by transforming scrap into a valuable resource which is a far better alternative to landfill.
As the world moves to decarbonise, recycling is no longer simply about making ourselves feel good, it's an essential behaviour which will help preserve our environment for generations to come. To find out more, visit www.infrabuild.com.