We already know that recycling refers to the process of changing waste matter into reusable products. Australia is one of the foremost countries that have taken to recycling to a great extent. There are various ways in which the government and the public work together in close partnership to make this recycling process a success.
Hierarchy of waste material:
Like all other manufacturing processes, recycling also has a set of rule and regulations that individuals have to abide by while recycling waste. There is a hierarchy of the plastic that the country collects as waste. The individuals first have to sort out the waste into various categories before they deposit it. The multiple groups of plastic depend on the quality of the material, and the place of the product in this hierarchy decides what the product waste matter will be recycled to produce.
Plastics that suffer from contamination of food or liquid are of less value than clean plastics. Thick plastics that are degradable are of better quality than the thinner varieties and cling films. These are the qualities of the plastics that decide their position in the hierarchy of the waste matter.
Recycling crisis in Australia:
Australia was selling most of its plastic waste to China. This sale was possible due to the hierarchy of the waste materials and the proper collection methods implemented by Australia. However, there have been cases of contamination by the lower quality of plastic products that get into the stream of higher quality plastic wastes. As a result, in 2013, China launched its Operation Green fence policy that banned about 24 types of scrap and junk materials that China was previously purchasing.
Repercussions on Australia:
This recycling crisis has serious implications for Australia. The ban that China has placed on the various scrap materials means that Australia will not be able to sell or export plastic waste to China as it used to in the past. Therefore, the plastic waste will remain in Australia and add to the pollution and contamination there. Thus, adequate measures have to be taken soon to prevent rapid environmental degradation.
Solution for the plastic waste crisis:
The Australian government and the local public have to set an effective Container deposit scheme to ensure that the plastic collection process is efficient and allows a separate collection of each type of product. It will help in the recycling process, and the products will come into use correctly. A different collection of plastic waste also allows individuals to treat waste matter appropriately and recycle it to produce appropriate products.
Australia should look at this situation as an opportunity to develop their recycling industry rather than thinking of it as a burden. Having a new industry is also beneficial for the economy as it provides new opportunities for livelihood for the public. Moreover, the output from this sector could also help to boost the economic position of the country as the inputs are reusable with a higher profit margin than products that come into use only once.
The best way to handle plastic waste is to know. How each type of material has to be treated and recycled. Most often all kinds of plastic materials are dumped in a landfill without segregating them. The container deposit scheme allows people to deposit different types of plastic separately. Moreover, the quality of the articles deposited through this scheme is much cleaner than the collection in a recycling bin. Since the products are fresh, they are desirable enough to be purchased rather than being dumped in a landfill. For example, bottles made of rPET OR PET material can be recycled easily. And have a higher value if they are disposed of in the right way.
An initiative by commercial companies:
Commercial companies can attempt to improve the quality of plastic that they use to produce containers for their products. A higher quality of plastic ensures that the bottles can be easily recycled and reused. Moreover, companies can use the containers to refill their products than producing more plastic content and waste. It can also help the company to trim its cost of production and increase profits.