Glass recycling crisis in Australia

ABC’s Four Corners program revealed that it is currently cheaper to stockpile and landfill glass waste than it is to recycle it!

Recycling green plant globe map surrounded of rubbish

Australia consumes about 1.36 million tonnes of glass packaging per year. New South Wales itself disposes of 460,000 tonnes of glass containers per year.

Glass bottles and containers can be recycled endlessly without any loss in purity or quality. Furthermore, the amount of energy needed to melt recycled glass is considerably less than that needed to melt raw materials to make new bottles and jars. However, it is currently cheaper to import glass bottles and jars than to recycle them locally. This is creating an unsustainable situation where recyclers are currently receiving more glass than they can deal with.

Some waste and recycling companies are stockpiling large amounts of glass even though this practice is prohibited by the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The environmental damage is becoming even more evident as a number of NSW companies are dumping their glass waste in landfill areas, accepting the levy of $138 per tonne. Some are going even further, sending their waste to Queensland where such a levy doesn’t exist.

While we wait for the slow response of the Government and corporations, we can make the choice to buy a product or use a service that has much less impact on the environment. Each of us can contribute, by making positive changes in our personal approach to consumption.

Watch the Four Corners episode Trashed: The Dirty Truth About Your Rubbish.

Read more at ABC News

7 thoughts on “Glass recycling crisis in Australia

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