Planet Ark recently released a guide to reducing and recycling plastics at work, after researchers discovered Australians threw away more than two and a half million tonnes of plastic in 2018-19, with businesses responsible for more than half.
Businesses and workplaces have an important role to play in turning around Australia’s plastic problem, by salvaging these valuable materials for reuse and keeping them out of landfill.
Most plastic is made from finite fossil fuel resources such as crude oil, coal and gas. Most products and pieces of packaging made from plastic have a small triangle on them with a number inside. This is a plastic identification code, used to identify the type of plastic the product is made from. The triangle is often confused with the global symbol for recycling, the Mobius Loop, but it is not an indication the item can be recycled. Some types of plastic are harder to recycle than others, so this information is very important to recyclers.
Recycling 1 tonne of HDPE plastic saves around 1.1 tonnes of CO2 emissions. HDPE is the most common type of plastic used in Australia, used to make products like containers, piping and plastic bags. Plastics can be recycled into many types of new products, from plastic bottles to garden furniture.