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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Waste solutions

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Australia has a waste problem. Take plastic for example. Australians throw away around 179 million empty bottles of shampoo, conditioner and other personal care products each year, contributing to 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, or 100kg per person. Of this, 84 per cent is sent to landfill. And this is set to increase with the recent collapse of the soft plastic recycling program, REDcycle.

And food waste is worse. The 2021 National Food Waste Strategy Feasibility Study found that we create 7.6 million tonnes of food waste each year or 312kg per person. Food waste costs the economy a staggering $36.6 billion per annum and, like plastic, almost all food waste goes to landfill.

Fortunately, some new developments are in the pipeline. Australian company Rtec has reportedly discovered a way to recycle soft plastics in a single step. Another Australian company, Zero Co replaces plastic personal care bottles with a set of ‘forever’ bottles made from ocean, beach and landfill waste (OBL), and provides a set of refill pouches made from recycled plastic and a postage-paid return envelope. For food waste, the federal government’s Food and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection service operating in about half of Australia’s local government councils has the capacity to reduce waste to landfill by 40 per cent.

It seems there are solutions out there. We just need to care enough to seek them out.

Ray Peck, Hawthorn


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1 COMMENT

  1. Wow. Food waste is nearly 900 grams per person per day! Does this count bones, orange peels, apple cores and the like?

    Some people must throw out a lot. It is rare in my household to waste any food at all and if it does spoil then it goes into our compost.

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