Reduce Reuse Recycle – Redux

You may be familiar with the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, which has been the standard response to society’s massive consumption and waste problem.

Recycling is a popular notion, with 87% of Australians believing it’s the right thing to do at home.

But in reality, only a tiny bit of the waste we generate, including plastic, actually gets recycled.

Most of it just ends up in a landfill somewhere.

Or shipped overseas.

Crop anonymous female in casual clothes standing near bucket for plastic and sorting out rubbish in light room


This has led to the term wish-cycling, which refers to the act of putting items in the recycling bin wishing and hoping that they will be recycled, even if there is little evidence of that actually taking place.

Wish-cycling is clearly at play in the sudden and dramatic collapse of the RedCycle program, which was intended to recycle our soft plastics.

So, even though we diligently collect and sort our plastic waste, very little of it is actually being recycled.

Instead, the bales of collected recyclable plastics are piled up in warehouses, presenting both a fire and environmental hazard while waiting for another country, like our neighbours, to take them off our hands.

The crisis comes to light

This all came to a head in 2018, when China, which had been taking most of our plastic waste, decided they had enough.

The Australian government, faced with the enormity of the problem, came up with various initiatives to improve plastic recycling and reduce plastic going to landfill.

These include putting a ban on the export of plastic waste overseas, investments to boost recycling infrastructure and technologies, and setting recycling targets.

There are also industry-led initiatives but there is much more we can do as consumers and producers.

Plastic Bottles Pressed into Cubes

The low uptake of recycled plastic content in the manufacturing of products is one of the enduring challenges in the recycling of plastic. This low uptake creates a bottleneck in the recycling system, hindering its effectiveness.

Cat next to plastic drink bottles

Cat has an answer

This is why we are developing The Sustainable Cat Cubby.

Made from recycled plastic and designed with circularity in mind, it promises to be a game changer, for Aussie cat parents who love the environment as much as their cats.

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