Article 07/11/2021

Recycling towards a circular economy

Carol Fung By Carol Fung

The container deposit scheme is designed to reduce litter, divert waste from landfill and ensure all material collected and processed from Aussies bottles and cans are recycled back into new products.

Here are some facts about the materials we collect and recycle from your bottles and cans, and why we should circulate all recyclable material – keeping it IN the economy and OUT of the environment.

Remember to always purchase products made from recycled material to ‘close the loop’. Our choices are powerful, and the more we choose these kinds of products, the more technology and innovation goes into the development of how we can recycle more efficiently and economically!

ALUMINIUM –

Recycling aluminium saves 95% of the energy used to make new metal from virgin product.

Aluminium can be endlessly recycled without any loss of quality. By recycling just six aluminium cans you can save enough energy to offset the carbon emissions from a 10km journey in an average-size car, 17km bus ride or 25km train trip.

Plus, making new cans from used aluminium requires only 5% of the energy needed to make a new can from scratch, rather than from bauxite.

Sources: Sustainability Victoria, The International Aluminium Institute

STEEL –

Making steel from recycled cans uses 75% less energy than when producing steel from raw materials.

Steel is 100% recyclable, and making new products from recycled steel cans requires less resources and can help save up to 75% of the energy, and 40% of the water needed to make steel from raw materials.

Air pollution is also reduced by almost 90%. Every tonne of steel recycled saves 1,131kg of iron ore, 633kg of coal and 54kg of limestone.

Source: Sustainability Victoria

Source: Bioelektra

GLASS –

Each 1kg of glass recycled conserves 1.2kg of virgin natural resources that would need to be extracted or mined.

Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to operate a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours and power a computer for 25 minutes. Recycled glass products require approximately 74% less energy to produce than glass products made from virgin materials – sand, limestone and soda ash.

Every 10% of recycled glass used in glass production results in an approximately 5% reduction in carbon emissions, and energy savings of around 3%.

Sources: Sunshine Coast Council, ACT City Services

The government of New South Wales in Australia has given two contractors grants to help boost the use of recycled glass in asphalt.

PLASTIC –

Producing plastics from recycled materials saves 88% of the energy required from the raw materials of oil and gas.

Recycling one plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hour. For every tonne of plastic recycled, 16.3 barrels of oil and 5,774 kWh energy is saved (that’s enough energy to charge a Tesla battery more than 100x).

Recycling plastic ensures that we do not contaminate our oceans, protecting our wildlife and environment.

Source: Plastics For Change

LIQUID PAPER BOARD –

Liquid paper board is recycled back into paper products like cardboard boxes.

The lightweight nature of liquid paper board (LPB) cartons means they require less energy to transport than other beverage packaging. They also do not need to be refrigerated before opening, resulting in savings in energy during storage and transport. The fibre contained in paperboard is high-quality and valuable resource.

Recycling liquid paper board into tissue paper, recycled paper or cardboard saves trees from being cut down; as well cardboard that ends up in landfill produces toxic methane gas, 21x stronger than carbon emissions.

Sources: Planet Ark, Packaging Gateway

Carol Fung By Carol Fung