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Plastic waste, recycling and manufacturing

How much plastic packaging each year do Australian consumers dispose of each year?


In 2020, Australian consumers disposed of approximately 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging. According to a report by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), this includes plastic used for food and beverage packaging, household and personal care products, as well as industrial and commercial goods. APCO also notes that only 18% of this plastic packaging is currently being recycled, with the rest being sent to landfill or ending up in the environment.



What type of product packaging and plastics are disposed of each year by consumers?


Australian consumers dispose of a wide range of products packaging and plastics each year. Some of the common types of plastic packaging that are used and disposed of include:


Food and beverage packaging: This includes plastic bottles, trays, containers, and wraps used for packaging food and drinks.


Household and personal care products: This includes plastic bottles, tubes, and containers used for packaging products such as shampoo, cleaning supplies, and personal care items.


Industrial and commercial goods: This includes plastic packaging used for transporting and storing products in industries such as agriculture, construction, and manufacturing.


Single-use items: This includes items such as plastic bags, straws, and cutlery, which are typically used once and then disposed of.


E-commerce packaging: This includes plastic packaging used for shipping and delivering goods purchased online, such as bubble wrap and plastic envelopes.



What type of plastics are disposed of each year by customers?


Customers (not industrial or companies) dispose of a wide range of plastic types, but some of the most common types of plastic found in the waste stream include:


Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE): This is a commonly used plastic for food and drink containers, such as water and soft drink bottles.


High-density Polyethylene (HDPE): This is used in the production of various types of packaging, including milk and juice bottles, shampoo and conditioner bottles, and some cleaning product containers.





Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE): This type of plastic is used in the production of plastic bags, wraps, and films.


Polypropylene (PP): This is a versatile plastic used for a range of products, including food containers, drink cups, and some packaging materials.


Polystyrene (PS): This is used to produce foam packaging materials, such as coffee cups, meat trays, and egg cartons.


PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): This is used in the production of a variety of products, including pipes, wire insulation, and some packaging materials.



What plastics can be recycled via curbside collections in Australia?


According to Clean Up Australia, the types of plastics that can be recycled through curbside collections in Australia can vary depending on the local council or waste management authority. However, in general, most curbside recycling programs accept the following types of plastics:


PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) - used for soft drink, water and juice bottles


HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) - used for milk, detergent, and shampoo bottles


PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) - used for clear fruit and vegetable packaging


LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) - used for soft, flexible packaging such as plastic bags, bread bags, and frozen food bags


PP (Polypropylene) - used for some food containers, such as margarine tubs and takeaway containers


PS (Polystyrene) - used for meat trays and some takeout food containers




In Australia, are all plastics and glass from curbside collections recycled?


Unfortunately, not all plastics and glass from curbside collections in Australia are recycled. While curbside recycling programs are designed to recover and recycle as much material as possible, the recycling process is complex and can be affected by a number of factors.


One of the main challenges with recycling plastics and glass is contamination. When non-recyclable items are placed in the recycling bin, such as food waste or incorrect types of plastic, it can contaminate the entire batch of materials and make them unsuitable for recycling. This can lead to a significant amount of recyclable material being sent to landfill instead of being recycled.

Another challenge is that some types of plastics and glass are more difficult to recycle than others. For example, some types of glass can only be recycled if they are separated by color, which is not always possible in curbside collections.



What can i do as a consumer to ensure my plastic waste is recycled and not contaminated?


As a consumer, there are several things you can do to help ensure that your plastic waste is recycled and not contaminated:


Know what can be recycled in your area: Check with your local council or waste management authority to find out what types of plastics are accepted in your curbside recycling program. This will help you avoid contaminating the recycling stream with materials that cannot be recycled.

Clean and prepare recyclables properly: Rinse out food and drink containers before placing them in the recycling bin. Remove any lids or caps and check if they are recyclable. Flatten cardboard boxes and remove any plastic packaging, such as bubble wrap or Styrofoam.


Avoid contamination: Keep non-recyclable items out of the recycling bin, such as food waste, plastic bags, and soft plastics. These items can contaminate the recycling stream and make it more difficult to recycle materials effectively.

Reduce your overall plastic consumption: The best way to reduce plastic waste is to use less of it in the first place. Consider using reusable bags, bottles, and containers instead of disposable options.


Recycle properly: Place your recyclables in the correct bin and don't overfill it. If the recycling bin is full, wait until the next collection or take your items to a recycling drop-off point.




How much plastic goes to landfill each year in Australia?


According to the National Waste Report 2020, approximately 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste was generated in Australia in the 2018-19 financial year, and approximately 1.4 million tonnes (56%) of this plastic waste was sent to landfill. This means that a significant amount of plastic waste is still not being effectively managed through recycling or other forms of diversion from landfill.


It's worth noting that the amount of plastic waste sent to landfill can vary depending on a number of factors, including regional waste management practices, the availability of recycling infrastructure, and consumer behaviour. However, the fact remains that plastic waste is a significant environmental challenge in Australia and around the world, and reducing our reliance on single-use plastics and improving waste management practices are critical steps in addressing this issue.




What can I do to support the recycling industry?


There are several things you can do to support the recycling industry and help promote sustainable waste management practices:


Recycle properly: Follow the recycling guidelines provided by your local council or waste management authority. This can help ensure that recyclable materials are collected, sorted, and processed effectively.


Reduce your plastic consumption: Try to use fewer single-use plastics in your daily life. This can include using a reusable water bottle, bringing your own shopping bags, and choosing products with minimal packaging.


Buy recycled products: Look for products made from recycled materials. This can help create demand for recycled materials and support the recycling industry.


Support legislation and policies that promote sustainable waste management: Stay informed about waste management policies and initiatives in your community and advocate for sustainable waste management practices.


Learn more about the recycling industry: Educate yourself about the challenges facing the recycling industry and the impact of plastic waste on the environment. This can help you make informed decisions about your own waste management practices and support efforts to improve recycling infrastructure and policies.


By taking these steps, you can help support the recycling industry and promote sustainable waste management practices in your community.



What type of product packaging is made from HDPE plastic?


HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic is commonly used in the production of a wide variety of product packaging, including:


Bottles: HDPE is commonly used to make bottles for milk, juice, water, and other beverages. HDPE bottles are lightweight, durable, and can be recycled easily.


Jugs: HDPE jugs are used to package a variety of products, including laundry detergent, motor oil, and household cleaning products.


Tubs and containers: HDPE is often used to make containers for food products such as yogurt, margarine, and condiments.


Caps and closures: HDPE is used to make caps and closures for bottles and other containers.


Bags: HDPE is commonly used to make grocery bags, trash bags, and other types of plastic bags.


Pallets: HDPE is also used to make pallets for shipping and handling goods.



Why is HDPE plastic good for recycling and manufacturing into new products?


HDPE plastic is a popular material for recycling and manufacturing into new products for several reasons:


Durability: HDPE is a strong and durable plastic that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. This makes it a good material for products that need to last a long time.


Lightweight: HDPE is a lightweight plastic, which makes it ideal for use in products that need to be transported or shipped.


Resistance to moisture and chemicals: HDPE is resistant to moisture and chemicals, which makes it a popular choice for packaging products that may come into contact with liquids or chemicals.


Recyclability: HDPE is a highly recyclable material, meaning it can be collected, sorted, and processed into new products relatively easily. This makes it a sustainable choice for product packaging and other applications.


Energy efficiency: The manufacturing process for HDPE requires less energy compared to other plastics, making it a more environmentally friendly choice.


Overall, HDPE's durability, lightweight, resistance to moisture and chemicals, and recyclability make it a good choice for product packaging and other applications, and it's easy to recycle into new products, which helps reduce waste and conserve resources.



What type of recycled plastic Vinyl Station record cabinets made from?


Vinyl Stations are made from only sustainable materials. This includes reclaimed timber, such as Australian hardwoods, and recycled plastic. We choose recycled HDPE plastic, due to the ‘workability’ of this material, plus we can create pretty much any main colour and colour mix, to fit the room where it’s placed, and what you want.


HDPE stands for high-density polyethylene, which is a type of thermoplastic made from petroleum. HDPE is a strong, durable, and versatile plastic that is widely used in a variety of applications, including product packaging, piping, construction, and more.


HDPE is characterized by its high density, which gives it a higher strength-to-density ratio compared to other types of polyethylene. It is also resistant to moisture and chemicals, making it a popular choice for product packaging and containers that come into contact with liquids or chemicals.


HDPE is recyclable, and its recyclability has contributed to its popularity as an eco-friendly choice for product packaging and other applications. It is often collected and processed through curbside recycling programs, and it can be melted down and reformed into new products, which helps reduce waste and conserve resources.



Why is it a good idea to choose products manufactured from sustainable materials?


Choosing products manufactured from sustainable materials is a good idea for several reasons:


Environmental benefits: Sustainable materials are typically sourced and manufactured in a way that minimizes harm to the environment, reducing the impact on natural resources, ecosystems, and wildlife.


Energy efficiency: Many sustainable materials require less energy to produce, which reduces the carbon footprint and helps to conserve resources.


Health benefits: Some materials used in manufacturing products can be harmful to human health. Sustainable materials are often free from toxic chemicals, which can reduce exposure to harmful substances.


Economic benefits: Supporting products made from sustainable materials can help promote sustainable and responsible business practices, which can lead to economic benefits for local communities and economies.


Innovation and creativity: Sustainable materials often require innovative and creative approaches to manufacturing and design, which can lead to unique and innovative products.


By choosing products manufactured from sustainable materials, consumers can play an active role in promoting sustainable practices and reducing the impact of consumerism on the environment



Why is it good to choose a product made from recycled plastic, rather than virgin wood or virgin materials?


There are several reasons why it's good to choose a product made from recycled plastic rather than virgin wood or virgin materials:


Resource conservation: Choosing products made from recycled plastic helps to conserve natural resources by reducing the demand for virgin materials. This reduces the amount of waste generated and minimizes the impact on the environment.


Energy efficiency: The production of recycled plastic typically requires less energy compared to the production of virgin materials. This helps to reduce carbon emissions and conserve energy resources.


Reduced waste: By using recycled plastic, waste materials are diverted from landfills, which reduces the amount of waste generated and minimizes the impact on the environment.


Cost-effective: Using recycled plastic can often be a cost-effective alternative to using virgin materials, especially when the costs of disposal and waste management are taken into account.


Versatile: Recycled plastic can be used to manufacture a wide range of products, making it a versatile material with many applications.


Overall, choosing products made from recycled plastic helps to promote sustainable practices and reduce the impact of consumerism on the environment. It conserves resources, reduces waste, and can often be a cost-effective and versatile alternative to using virgin materials.



What types of products can be made from recycled plastic?


Recycled plastic can be used to make a wide range of products, including:


Product packaging: Recycled plastic is commonly used to make product packaging, such as bottles, containers, and bags.


Building materials: Recycled plastic can be used to make building materials such as decking, fencing, and roofing tiles.


Furniture: Recycled plastic can be used to make outdoor furniture, such as chairs, tables, and benches.


Automotive parts: Recycled plastic can be used to make various automotive parts, such as dashboards, bumpers, and fenders.


Electronics: Recycled plastic can be used to make electronic products, such as phone cases and laptop covers.


Clothing: Recycled plastic can be used to make clothing and textile products, such as polyester fabrics and fleece.


Toys: Recycled plastic can be used to make various toys, such as building blocks and outdoor play equipment.


Recycled plastic can be used to make a wide range of products across many different industries, providing a versatile and sustainable material that can help reduce waste and conserve resources.




Record cabinets made from recycled plastic


Click the links below to see record cabinets made in Australia, from post consumer plastic.










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