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National recycling week: what is it? how to get involved

November 2019

Whether you’ve been thoughtfully recycling all along, or you’ve really been meaning to get started, National Recycling Week is a wonderful time to support good habits and initiate new sustainable practices in your home, workplace, and community. The event was founded in 1996 by Planet Ark in efforts to not only educate Australians about recycling, but to stimulate true behavioural changes and incorporate them into our daily lives. Now in its 24th year, National Recycling Week is still providing tools to help minimise waste and more responsibly manage resources.

'National Recycling Week', 'photo:'
'National Recycling Week', 'photo:'

Planet Ark launched the website in 2006 to further facilitate recycling efforts and provide a comprehensive resource for those seeking out more sustainable living practices. The website provides information on what can and can’t be recycled from home, as well as a search function for drop-off locations for items that can’t be put in kerbside recycling such as electronic waste, printer cartridges, batteries, white goods, furniture, and much more. If you’re setting up your our sustainable housing practices, this is a great resource to help you create eco-friendly systems for your and your family.

National Recycling Week is 11-17th November in 2019, and 9-15th November in 2020.

In the spirit of National Recycling Week, we’re providing a gentle reminder on kerbside recycling do’s and don’ts, as well as some ideas for those who want to go a little bit above and beyond with their recycling initiatives. Check it out below.

Reminder on Kerbside Recycling Rules:

'Kerbside Recycling Rules'
'Kerbside Recycling Rules'

###Look for the label:

The Australasian recycling label now makes it easy for your to figure out which items can be recycled and in which bin they belong.

Know what to include:

Cardboard, paper, cartons, metal cans, glass jars & bottles, plastic containers are usually recyclable items.

Know which items to keep out of kerbside recycling:

Soft plastics and plastic bags, food, clothing, nappies and textiles, electronic waste, polystyrene, CDs, drinking glasses are not recyclable in curbside recycling. Check with your local council to find out about recycling items that aren’t included in kerbside recycling.

Find a drop off location:

Certain items like mobile phones, soft plastics, printer cartridges etc. can be dropped off for specific recycling. If you’re not sure, leave it out until you get more information. Putting non recyclables in the bin creates obstacles at the recycling facilities. Buy things made from recycled material if there is an option. Visit for more information or to find drop off locations etc.

'Kerbside Recycling Rules', 'photo:'
'Kerbside Recycling Rules', 'photo:'

Recycling Initiatives for the Keen Recycler

As a consumer, you can incorporate eco-friendly practices into your daily life that contribute to recycling beyond putting things on the kerb each week. To start with, buying things without packaging, or with reusable packing, reduce the need to recycle in the first place. This might mean saving bags or jars for some products and using them again at a bulk-food store rather than buying a packaged item the next time around. Perhaps you can make a one-time investment in reusable shopping bags and containers, or find a way to use something you already have at home. Even seemingly small acts of repurposing like using old bottles for your flower vases, when done by enough people, can save the recycling centres a lot of effort over time.

If you’re already incorporating reusing and repurposing practices in your sustainable home, you might like to take it to the next step with one of the following ideas:

Host a swap party for friends

Have friends or community members over to your house during National Recycling Week for a social gathering that will keep items cycling around your community. Tell everyone to bring along good quality items that they are ready to let go of. For each item someone brings they will receive a token. Everyone’s items will be displayed in the room where you’re having the party and guests can exchange their tokens for someone else’s pre-loved goods. Swap parties are a fun way to participate in National Recycling Week while also creating an opportunity for your friends or community members to connect. Swap parties not only reduce items going to landfill, they also help save on the natural resources that would be used to produce new items. You can even register your swap party and get more people involved.

'Swap party', 'photo:'
'Swap party', 'photo:'

Set up a recycling station at work

Make it easy for your co-workers by setting up bins with easy-to-understand graphics and information. If you want to go that extra step, set up a mobile muster drop box so that your colleagues can recycle old phones.The materials from old phones are reused and will replace the need for sourcing raw materials, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If there isn’t a good spot for a drop-box at the office, visit Mobile Muster to download a free postage label, or look for a drop-box in the area to take everyones phone in one go.

'Nespresso', 'photo:
'Nespresso', 'photo: '

Set up Nespresso recycle

If your office uses a coffee pod machine, don’t let the used coffee and aluminium go to waste. You can set up a bulk recycling box to be used for office pods, but also for anyone who’d like to bring them from home to conveniently recycle. Visit the Nespresso website or give them a call to get a recycling box. Once it’s full they will collect it at no charge, or you can take it to your nearest drop off point.

Recycling ink cartridges

If your workplace uses more than 3 printer ink cartridges per month, check out Cartriges 4 Planetark to set up a recycling system. The brands involved include: Toshiba, Fuji Xerox Australia, Samsung, Oki, Sharp, Dell or Lexmark. These companies are contributing to sustainable recycling efforts by covering the cost of collecting, transporting, and recycling the cartridges. You can get your company to start recycling if they use one of these brands, otherwise, you might consider switching brands on your next restock!

Display infographics

Make it easier for family members and coworkers who haven’t worked out the do’s and don’ts of recycling! Download some posters and social media graphics. A lot of the time, people aren’t recycling because they don’t know how, or they don’t think something is recyclable. A little education can go a long way.

Take the Recycling Quiz

Whether you score well or not, you’ll get an idea of your own recycling knowledge and where you can brush up, and the answers will all be revealed regardless. Send it around to family and friends to get them thinking about recycling!

Head to the for more ideas on setting up new recycling systems at work or in your local community and get involved in this year’s National Recycling Week.

Check out our blog for more sustainable living tips.