Check It! Before You Chuck It, a two-year national campaign to educate Australians about sustainable packaging and inspire positive recycling behaviours, has launched today.
The campaign, developed by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and Planet Ark with support from the Federal Government, calls on all Australians to check the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) every time they are at the bin, so they recycle their packaging correctly.
According to Assistant Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Minister Trevor Evans, recycling correctly is one of the best practical actions Australians can take to help the environment.
“This new recycling campaign, funded by the Federal Government, is a fantastic reminder to always be mindful of recycling correctly by looking for the packaging label before chucking things in the bin,” he said.
“Recycling correctly reduces the amount of waste going to landfill and enables new products to be made and re-used again and again.”
The Check It! Before You Chuck It campaign aims to generate widespread awareness of the ARL, an evidence-based on-pack label that clearly shows Australians how to correctly recycle and dispose of packaging after use.
Since its launch in 2018, the ARL Program has gained widespread support from government and industry, with many of Australia’s best-known brands and retailers carrying the label on their product packaging.
“We know Australians are passionate about the environment and want to do the right thing,” Planet Ark Deputy CEO Rebecca Gilling said.
“The most common place people look for recycling information is on product packaging, therefore we need to have consistent labelling on that packaging that truly reflects Australia’s recycling infrastructure.
“The second step is to educate Australians to look for the ARL when they are at the bin, which will help them recycle right, reduce contamination in our recycling streams and keep recyclable materials in circulation.”
Similarly, APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said APCO wants consumers to feel empowered about the important role they play in helping Australia get its approach to recycling right.
“By educating households and businesses to source separate effectively by looking for and following the ARL instructions, we can reduce contamination in the waste stream and ensure valuable materials have the opportunity to be recycled into new products,” Donnelly said.
“Research consistently shows that Australians are confused by recycling – this campaign will help to cut through that confusion with one simple action every time consumers are at the bin: to check it before they chuck it.”
The campaign launch comes off the back of a recent Pact Group study, Community Attitudes to Waste and Recycling, which highlights a need for education around how to recycle right and develop positive recycling behaviours.
The study revealed 81 per cent of Australians are not confident they recycle everything effectively.
Pact Group Managing Director and CEO Sanjay Dayal said as Australia’s biggest recycler and user of recycled materials in Australia and New Zealand, Pact Group understands how important it is that households and businesses have the information they need to recycle properly.
“Reducing confusion and improving our waste stream will help build Australia’s circular economy and reduce our reliance on imported recycled materials,” he said.
“This will unlock significant environmental and economic benefits while creating high quality, local manufacturing jobs for generations to come.”
The study also shows that of Australians that identify as confident recyclers, one in five admitted that if they were unsure of whether an item could be recycled or not, they would dispose of it in their kerbside recycling bin regardless.
This phenomenon, known as wish-cycling, is a major contributor to contamination in the waste stream and valuable materials entering landfill unnecessarily.
The campaign, which was developed using principles of behaviour change, is headlined by an animation that introduces a cast of interactive characters who visually demonstrate the positive recycling behaviour of checking the ARL before putting packaging in the bin.
The Check It! Before You Chuck It call to action is supported by a suite of creative assets, which will all be shared with Australians through a number of platforms including social media.
Woolworths Head of Sustainability Adrian Cullen said the company is committed to reducing plastic and increasing recyclability across its Own Brand packaging.
“We know our efforts have the greatest impact when packaging is disposed of in the right place. The ARL makes using the right bin easy, so we’re pleased to get behind this campaign to help make it second nature to check it before you chuck it,” he said.
“We were proud to be the first Australian supermarket to commit to adopting the ARL across our Own Brand range three years ago and remain committed to supporting the development of a circular economy.”