How I feel as a Swedish waste manager after Foreign Correspondent

A recent waste to energy episode of Foreign Correspondent hosted by the War on Waste’s Craig Reucassel raises further questions about the operational and regulatory process leading to materials being burnt, writes JustWaste consultant Isabel Axio. 

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Mobile Muster calls on Australians to recycle phones in storage


Mobile Muster is calling on Australians to recycle their old mobile phone after the program was showcased on the ABC’s War on Waste.

The national government accredited mobile phone recycling program is aiming to encourage Australians to take their phones out of storage and recycle them. The program is funded by all of the major handset manufacturers and network carriers to provide the free recycling system.

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Mobile Muster says there are currently more mobile phones in storage than the number of people in the country and estimates that by 2028, that number will reach almost 30 million.

Research shows that three out of four Australians are aware that they can recycle their phones, with Mobile Muster aiming to educate people on how they can recycle responsibly through its program.

Consumer awareness campaigns run by Mobile Muster highlight the environmental and social importance of recycling phones.

It also works closely with councils, workplaces, retailers and schools to raise awareness of mobile phone recycling, while also partnering with charities to give mobile users an added incentive to recycle their phones while doing good for communities.

Image Credit: Mobile Muster

Mobile Muster has established more than 35000 drop off points across Australia and have an agreement with AusPost where phones can be posted for free to be recycled.

Almost $45 million has been invested to develop a solid collection network and awareness campaigns over the last 20 years.

The program recycles 99 per cent of the material from phones and accessories, including glass, plastics and metals, reducing the need for virgin materials.

Mobile Muster Manager Spyro Kalos said most Australians know that we shouldn’t throw their phones in the bin, but many people hang on to them just in case they’re needed which often leads to them being forgotten in a draw.

“We know that recycling can be confusing sometimes, so we cut through that by providing a free and simple way for people to easily recycle their mobile phones. To date, we’ve recycled over 1,300 tonnes of mobile phones and accessories, including 13 million handsets and batteries. But there is always more to do,” he said.

“With millions of phones lying dormant at home, the e-waste problem is getting bigger and we all need to be talking about it more. Mobile phones can and should be recycled when they reach the end of their lives. We can all do our part to fight the war on waste, and it starts at home. That’s why we’re calling all Australians to find their old phones and recycle them the right way – today,” said Mr Kalos.

Featured Image Credit: Mobile Muster

War on Waste season 2 fights bottles, straws, e-waste and more

The first episode of Craig Reucassel’s War on Waste season two will broadcast on the ABC at 8:30 pm on Tuesday 24 July.

More than 4.3 million viewers watched the original series in 2017, which sparked one of the ABC’s most successful social media campaigns with a video on dumping edible bananas reaching 20 million views.

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Season two’s first episode will look at new issues around plastic water bottles and straws, and e-waste.

It will also delve deeper into previously discussed issues of food waste and Australia’s recycling crisis.

A giant footprint made of plastic packaging was created on Sydney’s Manly beach to highlight the amount of single-use plastic that ends up in waterways.

With more than 10 million plastic straws being used every day in Australia, Mr Reucassel joins forces with the minds behind the #strawnomore movement to challenge pubs and fast food chains to ban the straw from their venues.

The show will also look at Australia’s fastest growing waste stream, e-waste. With tonnes of discarded computers, mobile phones and electrical goods ending up in landfill, Mr Reucassel highlights the dangers of the toxic elements within them leaching into the environment.

War on Waste season two also sees Mr Reucassel going undercover to expose the amount of food that is wasted when eating at restaurants.

Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW Executive Director Tony Khoury said the issues of disposable water bottles will be placed under the microscope.

“Last year’s series saw tremendous media coverage extend to disposable coffee cups, single-use plastic bags, household food waste and the wasteful policy of retailers,” he said.

Mr Khoury said collectors and processor can help the war on waste by providing better education for waste generators, provide a range of recycling options, use modern equipment, transport all waste and recyclables to a lawful facility and invest in training for workers.

“We all can lobby the NSW Government to invest more of the $700 million collected from the waste levy into waste management programs and much needed infrastructure to divert more waste from landfill,” he said.

Image credit: ABC

Rethinking Sustainability: Veolia’s new campaign

Veolia’s Ben Sullivan, NSW Group General Manager, tells Waste Management Review about the company’s innovative virtual reality campaign and how raising community awareness has formed an integral part of its approach to infrastructure.

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War on Waste season 2 focus on e-waste and recycling crisis

Q&A War on Waste episode to feature WMAA

The ABC’s War on Waste will return on Tuesday, July 24, to tackle new targets including plastic water bottles, straws, e-waste and furniture waste.

The series will also explore previous topics such as food waste and the recycling crisis.

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More than 4.3 million viewers watched the original series in 2017, which sparked one of the ABC’s most successful social media campaigns with a video on dumping edible bananas reaching 20 million views.

The series inspired Australians to get involved about waste management, with the Keep Cup crashing and sales rising by 400 per cent after the series, Woolworth and Coles announced lightweight plastic bags in the series, and reusable coffee cup scheme Responsible Cafes went from having 420 cafes to 1050 a week after the broadcast.

Craig Reucassel returns as host and aims to expose the effects of e-waste from discarded laptops, mobile phones and electronic goods in landfill.

ABC ME is also launching a new eight-episode series for children called Project Planet that aims to demonstrate how everyone can make a difference for sustainability.

ABC Director of Entertainment & Specialist David Anderson said War on Waste highlights the ABC’s capacity to spark national conversations and drive community action and social change.

“The distinctively ABC series empowers people to take immediate steps to reduce their consumption of plastic and electronic goods, and wastage of coffee cups and food. Waste is a universal issue, it impacts everyone,” he said.

Planet Ark release business recycling toolkit

Planet Ark is releasing a free guide for businesses to help them manage waste better to mark its annual Business Recycling campaign.

The War on Waste Toolkit for Business contains ten tools, including a recycling checklist to ask prospective recyclers. Information on recycled options for paper and stationary is also available for office managers to help them recycle efficiently.

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It also encouraged workers to use reusable alternatives to items like coffee cups, water bottles and shopping bags.

Construction and demolition processing mean tradesmen and builders can also recycle and use products from recycled materials.

Planet Ark designed the toolkit after 3.7 million Australians watched the ABC’s War on Waste in 2017, which prompted an unprecedented amount of inquiries on how businesses can do their part to recycle.

The NSW Environment Protection Agency (EPA) along with Planet Ark, has found financially beneficial and effective ways for staff and employers to reduce waste.

For businesses that produce high volume of waste, the Small Scale Recycling Equipment Catalogue matches them with suppliers of equipment including compactors and balers to reduce costs and save time.

Planet Ark’s Recycling Programs Manager Ryan Collins says it will be an essential resource as Australia’s business waste grows.

“A 2016 report found that the average business produces 849 kg of waste per person each year. That’s where the Toolkit comes in. It gives employees and business owners free advice on how to turn their waste into valuable resources,” he said.

For more information get in touch with our communications team using the details below or visit

War on Waste wins Gold Banksia Sustainability Award

The ABC TV series, War on Waste, has won the highest Banksia Sustainability honour in Australia, the Gold Banksia Sustainability Award, at the 2017 Banksia Sustainability Awards, presented in Sydney on November 1.

The Banksia awards are Australia’s first and foremost sustainability awards. The Gold Award recognises the ‘best of the best’ of all Banksia Sustainability award winners in 2017.

The Banksia judges said that War on Waste, produced by KEO Films Australia, “created a groundswell of interest that soon turned to a tidal wave of action. It designed an innovative, winning formula that combined a credible yet relatable host that presented the facts in a way that made the issues feel real, relatable, and local to the viewers”.

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The program reached a massive 2.6 million people, which is comparable to the footy… on a finals night.

The Banksia Sustainability awards are run by the Banksia Foundation, which has been bringing together the most innovative and effective people in sustainability in Australia and are Australia’s leading sustainability awards and the longest running Awards of this nature in the world.

“After 29 years of rewarding excellence in sustainability, it is becoming clear that more and more organisations and individuals simply ‘get it’, and are implementing sustainability into their processes themselves,” said Banksia’s CEO Graz van Egmond.

“It’s also very pleasing to see how many entries were aware of the Sustainable Development Goals that Australia has signed up to, and that they are already mapping progress against these Goals, integrating them into their strategy and operational plans. It won’t be long when this activity will be mainstream across business, government and social society.”

War on Waste is joined by 10 other winners over 12 categories of the Banksia Sustainability awards, including the Victorian town of Yackandandah which won the Banksia Sustainable and Resilient Communities Award for setting the task of generating 100 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2022.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg’s Award selected Sundrop Farms for the Minister’s Award for the Environment. Sundrop is an innovative form of agriculture growing fresh fruits and vegetables using renewable inputs, and offers meaningful insight into the way we can progress in Australia’s sustainable agricultural practices. Sundrop Farms also won the Banksia SMART Award, truly impressing judges on the ingenuity of their process making Australia’s harsh, dry land viable for agricultural production.

About Banksia Sustainability Awards

From their conception 29 years ago, the Banksia Sustainability Awards have become the most prestigious sustainability awards in Australia, inspiring excellence across all sectors of sustainability. The Banksia Sustainability Awards is a platform that brings together and celebrates the most innovative, effective and outstanding people contributing to improving Australia’s sustainability and elevates and encourages their ongoing involvement.

Full list of 2017 Banksia Sustainability winners

CategoryWinning ProjectAbout
Minister’s Award for the EnvironmentSundrop Farms


Sundrop is a leader in sustainable agriculture growing fresh fruits and vegetables using renewable inputs.


Banksia Communication for Change AwardWar On Waste (KEO Films Australia)


A provocative, controversial documentary series that uncovers how much waste we produce as a nation.


Banksia Food for Sustainable Thought AwardCullen Wines


Cullen Wines, certified biodynamic, carbon neutral, naturally powered and sustainable.


Banksia Sustainable Cities AwardFitzroy Gardens Redevelopment (City of Melbourne)


An integrated design-led approach to sustainability, education and public realm expansion.


Banksia SMART AwardSundrop Farms


Sundrop is a leader in sustainable agriculture growing fresh fruits and vegetables using renewable inputs.


Banksia Sustainable & Resilient Communities AwardReaching 100 per cent with Australia’s First Commercially Operating Community Mini Grid (Totally Renewable Yackandanda in collaboration with AusNet Services)


The Yackandandah community has a history of achieving ambitious community goals. With the support of the volunteer community group Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) it has now set itself the task of generating 100 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2022.


Banksia Large Business Sustainability Leadership AwardAccorHotels Australia


Driving Positive Hospitality, creating sustainable connections, embracing and educating their six million guests each year.


Banksia Small to Medium Sustainability Leadership AwardAustral Fisheries (Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd)


Seafood that is sustainable, healthy, and carbon neutral.


Banksia Natural Capital AwardMurray-Darling Basin Balanced Water Fund (The Nature Conservancy Australia)


The Nature Conservancy established the Murray-Darling Basin Balanced Water Fund to provide water security for Australian farming families while protecting culturally significant wetlands that support threatened species.



Banksia Indigenous Leadership for Sustainability AwardArnhem Chair (Winya Indigenous Furniture Pty Ltd)


The most socio-environmental focused furniture in Australia.


Banksia Leadership in the Circular Economy AwardYarra Valley Water – Converting Waste to Energy (Yarra Valley Water)


Organic waste destined for landfill is being turned into energy at Yarra Valley Water.


Banksia Gold AwardWar On Waste (KEO Films Australia)


A provocative, controversial documentary series that uncovers how much waste we produce as a nation

City of Melbourne fights war on waste

The City of Melbourne has pledged $50,000 to help retail and hospitality businesses reduce their impact on the environment.

In response to the environmental issues highlighted in the ABC’s War on Waste TV series, council has endorsed a motion to increase its efforts to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

This includes launching a Single-use Waste Reduction Fund where eligible businesses will receive up to $2000 to reduce the usage of plastic bags, coffee cups and bottled water in their operations and services. Single-use items refer to any product that is intended only to be used once and then discarded.

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Cathy Oke, says the small steps residents and businesses make to reduce their use of plastics can have a big impact.

“Our residents and businesses want to do their bit for the environment so we’re helping them to join the war on waste,” Cathy says. “This fund will support retail and hospitality businesses to reduce the amount of waste they produce in their day-to-day operations.”
Applications for the fund are open until 21 September 2017. Successful applicants will be notified on 5 October, and funding released on 12 October.

Funding may be a part contribution towards the cost of a larger program of work or it may fund the complete initiative. Some examples of likely eligible projects include the purchase of re-use items that avoid single use items in businesses, such as bags, cups, straws and bottles, a customer based campaign to promote available recyclable, or re-use items.

City of Melbourne says the used energy and economic cost of disposing single use plastic is “immense”. Australians use 10 million plastic bags per day and three billion coffee cups per year. Often these items end up in parks and waterways and are washed into the ocean.

To be eligible for a Single-use Waste Reduction Fund Small Grant, applicants must be a business owner or manager within the City of Melbourne and willing to commit to using the funding for the agreed purpose within a defined time period. All applicants will need to provide evidence of public liability insurance. Work that is inconsistent with program objectives, policies, laws or regulations will not be funded, nor for businesses outside the City of Melbourne.

Successful applicants must express the extent of the proposed waste reduction, be a genuine business expense not easily absorbed in the usual costs of doing business, show the visibility of the waste reduction, and set a good example to customers/patrons.

To apply for the fund, click here.

The motion also commits council to formally advocate for a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags and the introduction of a Container Deposit Scheme.

Small Business, Retail and Hospitality Chair Councillor Susan Riley and Cr Oke will also seek commitments from large supermarket chains, retailers and cafes within the municipality to work with us to reduce the use of single-use items.

Last year the City of Melbourne installed more than 60 water fountains to make it easier for people to access free drinking water in the city and to reduce reliance on plastic bottles.

The City of Melbourne is currently developing its new Waste and Resource Recovery Plan 2018-2021, which will outline a number of programs and initiatives to increase recycling and reduce waste to landfill.

For more information on the Single-use Waste Fund, contact the City of Melbourne or visit