The Victorian Government is investing $1.7 million into 12 projects to improve the collection, storage and reprocessing of e-waste across the state.
Information on consumer products and packaging is shining the spotlight on recycling operations across Australia. Waste Management Review speaks with industry to discuss consumer confusion and achieving labelling consistency.
New research has revealed 85 per cent of Australian consumers want retailers and brands to be more transparent about the origins and sustainability of their products and whether they are engaging in ethical practices.
An independent national audit of recycling information on consumer products and packaging has revealed a situation that is confusing for consumers and does not support better recycling, according to the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR).
Phasing out cigarette filters, microbeads and most types of disposable plastic foodware and containers would help halve the amount of plastic pollution flowing into Australia’s environment, according to a new report.
Last year, Magnum was the first ice cream brand to use recycled polypropylene plastic in its packaging and now its rolling out over 7 million new tubs and lids for its pints range.
With much debate surrounding how COVID-19 will shape Australia in the long-term, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation is exploring opportunities to accelerate sustainable packaging, writes CEO Brooke Donnelly.
Leading privately owned packaging and resource recovery company Visy will acquire the Australian and New Zealand glass manufacturing business of Owens Illinois in a deal worth almost A$1 billion.
Shred-X diverts almost 50,000 tonnes of paper per annum from landfill, partnering with Australian recycling organisations to recover and repurpose the material it collects.
Australians throw out 2.7 million single-use coffee cups every day, adding up to almost one billion coffee cups a year.
Van Karas, General Manager at Shred-X, says to efficiently recover and repurpose products, there has to be flexibility to enable current business capabilities to increase landfill diversion.
“It’s in our DNA to ensure wherever possible, following the required destruction process, the products we collect are recycled or repurposed,” he says.
Although Shred-X started out in the document destruction and paper recycling industry 20 years ago, Karas says the company has since expanded, pursuing recycling for an array of products other than paper including used coffee cups, QSR waste, e-waste and textiles.
Karas stated that following some recent tests, it has partnered with an Australian packaging company to collect and process their 100 per cent recyclable coffee cups.
“We’ve also invested in new ways of processing millions of ‘non-recyclable’ coffee cups, partnering with another Australian company that’s leading the way finding innovative solutions for recycling and repurposing use coffee cups aiding a circular economy,” Karas says.
Shred-X is continuing to align itself with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), which were first implemented into the global sector in 2016.
“One of the SDG’s Shred-X is actively working towards is building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation,” he says.
By 2025, Australia has committed to National Packaging Targets ensuring 100 per cent of packaging is either reused, recycled or repurposed.
Further to this, an Australian chain of quick service restaurants (QSR’s) are also aiming to recycle its customer packaging and waste.
According to Karas, Shred-X has always been a business that collects and processes specialised waste in line with recyclers needs.
“We’re working very hard with resilient partners to achieve common goals. Following an upcoming trial, we will be looking at smart innovations that add value to processing QSR waste, ensuring it goes to recyclers that will continue to add value to the waste product,” he says.
“It’s pretty impressive that we’re able to help companies achieve national targets by finding a new home for waste besides landfill. Shred-X are working with a range of partners and have begun undertaking trials with quick service restaurants to achieve their sustainability targets.”
Shred-X has achieved the highest industry certifications for its secure destruction facilities and operations located in every state and territory which incorporate the latest and most environmentally sustainable shredding technologies.
Through the company’s partnership with Australian recyclers, Shred-X recovers 98.5 per cent of the material collected and processed through its facilities.
Shred-X has also introduced a range of innovative secure destruction solutions for textiles and uniforms, high-end garments and accessories, seized goods, recalled items and liquids with an aim to ensure ethical disposal and landfill diversion whenever and wherever possible.
Environmental Policy and recycling partnerships reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to improving the sustainability and resilience of the business, while also ensuring its services remain cost-effective and best practice.
The company has applied these same foundational goals of sustainability and innovation to the medical waste industry through its Med-X Healthcare Solutions brand.
Shred-X and Med-X have continued to invest in technology and innovation that support the reduction of landfill and promote recycling, even amid essential operations during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Karas says Med-X operations ramped up during the COVID-19 pandemic, spotlighting the company’s investment in robotic technology to encourage human contact-less waste disposal and recovery.
“Plastic is infinitely recyclable and we like to think if people choose us, they know they’re part of a sustainable chain that positively impacts the wider community and environment,” he says.
On the other hand, the e-waste sector has its challenges. Shred-X pioneered IT asset management, destruction and recycling solutions when Australian businesses were beginning to go paperless.
“People thought we were just taking their paper and not doing anything with it, but beyond secure shredding, we’ve been a firm leader in removing all information contained on electronic and IT assets and responsibly recycling or repurposing the end components.”
As more offices convert to digital only businesses, Shred-X has been continually exploring further opportunities with ewaste, textile and fibre recycling and repurposing partners, plastic product developers and waste-to-energy processors.
“Shred-X works with our partners to recycle all electronic components of ewaste including precious metals, glass and plastic, as well as repurposing assets once the confidential information contained on the assets is removed,” he says.
“We’ve been led to so many avenues from beginning with just pieces of paper. Our exploration of sustainable recycling and destruction is undertaken in the most ethically responsible manner, to suit even the most stringent sustainability targets and government regulations.”
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Australian-based sustainable packaging developer SECOS Group has been selected by Woolworths to supply its compostable products for sale through the supermarket giant’s network of Eco stores.