National Recycling Week encourages farmers and households to buy recycled products

Flashback to 2015 when the recycling centre was opened by Member for Oxley Mel Pavey and mayor Rhonda Hoban.
Flashback to 2015 when the recycling centre was opened by Member for Oxley Mel Pavey and mayor Rhonda Hoban.

Australia’s waste is growing around six times faster than the population and National Recycling Week (NRW), from November 13-19, is a timely reminder for all Australians, including farmers, to look at their recycling habits.

In November 1996, Planet Ark founded National Recycling Week to bring a national focus to the environmental benefits of recycling.

The good news, according to Planet Ark, is that recycling is growing at an even faster rate than waste.

“This is great. But to properly close the recycling loop, we also need to buy products made with recycled content,” The 2017 NRW report says. 

“Nature recycles everything – nutrients flow from one living organism to another. But our ‘linear’ economy ignores this law of nature. In a circular economy, the aim is to keep materials from being thrown ‘away’ (since there is no ‘away’). The best way to do that is to reduce consumption or design out waste before it is created.”

Planet Ark says that by helping to close the loop, consumers can actually help grow markets by encouraging businesses to rethink product design, and create new business opportunities through new technologies and material collection networks.

It is forecast that the circular economy in Australia could become an industry worth $26billion by 2025.

NRW 2017 report, 'What goes around'.

Planet ARK has released a handy guide to sourcing recycled products.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Luke Hartsuyker, said this NRC is a great opportunity for farmers and rural Australians to think about the ways they manage waste and to encourage future generations to think sustainably.

"Our farmers manage 61 percent of Australia's landmass and can make a significant contribution to the protection of vital assets such as our soils, water, vegetation and biodiversity," Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Farmers can support the ‘circular economy’ by being conscious of how they dispose of things like worn tyres and used scrap metal from old machinery—and by purchasing products made from recycled materials.

“There is now a vast range of products that can be made from recycled materials including fencing, containers, and construction material like bricks and timber. Purchasing recycled products closes the loop and keeps products and material out of landfill, groundwater and oceans.”

There are already organisations promoting recycling in rural Australia—drumMUSTER provides farmers with an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of empty agricultural and veterinary chemical containers by turning them into useful recycled plastic products, while ChemClear provides safe disposal of chemicals.

For more information on National Recycling Week and sustainable agriculture, visit: recyclingweek.planetark.orgdrummuster.org.au and nrm.gov.au.