Recycling rates on the rise

New data released by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) shows that Australia's drink container recycling rates are continuing to rise, with manufacturers' lightweighting of PET bottles playing a considerable role.

In 2011-12, Australians recycled an extra 42,284 tonnes of drink containers compared to the previous year, according to a report from waste analysts Industry Edge and Equilibrium.

This rise – which is despite an increase in the overall numbers of containers in the market – is thanks to a combination of manufacturers' lightweighting of PET plastic drink bottles and significant additional recycling, particularly of glass.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Light weighting of PET drink bottles has reduced by nearly 12,000 tonnes the volume of PET put into the market (equating to a 10.7 percent  reduction);
  • 60 percent of all PET (plastic) drink bottles are now being recycled; and
  • In total, an extra 42,284 tonnes of drink containers were recycled, the bulk of which were glass.

Gary Dawson, AFGC chief executive, said "These results confirm the effectiveness of the current recycling schemes, through both the AFGC’s Packaging Stewardship Forum, and the Australian Packaging Covenant, that are delivering sustained improvements in beverage container recycling at no cost to the community.

"Australians are great recyclers, but we believe we can accelerate these improvements by making it easier and more convenient than ever to recycle packaging," he said.

"That’s why industry is ready to roll out a $100 million dollar national recycling scheme, the National Bin Network, that builds on the practical, targeted initiatives that we know from experience, and the results released today, do work. Our scheme delivers for the environment, but is fully industry funded and won’t cost families like a drink container tax would."


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