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 BusinessRecycling.com.au.

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 www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Pages/home.aspx

War on Waste ‘not 100 per cent accurate’

Paper cup manufacturers are fighting back against a program aired Tuesday on ABC that claimed 100 per cent of coffee cups are ending up in landfill, and that the only alternative is reusable cups.

War on Waste, an ABC series hosted by The Chaser’s Craig Reucassel, that aired this past Wednesday 31 May, saw Craig fill a tram full of take-away coffee cups, and announce that of the 1 billion coffee cups used in Australia every year, every one of them ends up in landfill.

Biopak Founder and Director Richard Fine told BeanScene he was interviewed by Craig, and informed him that several councils were recycling paper cups. He provided the list to BeanScene, which shows dozens of councils that confirm they did recycle paper coffee cup.

“The facts presented in the War on Waste Episode last night were unfortunately not 100 per cent accurate as paper cups including BioCups are accepted in the paper recycling stream in many councils,” he said.

BeanScene Magazine has spoken with a publicist from the ABC to confirm why this information wasn’t included in the program. The publicist sent its enquiry through to production company Keo Films who hasn’t yet responded to our enquiry.

The real challenge with recycling paper cups, Richard told BeanScene, is not that paper cups can’t be recycled, but more that several leading recycling companies are simply refusing to do it. Richard nevertheless welcomed the media attention to put pressure on recycling companies to make the effort to recycle paper cups.

“The bioplastic lining on BioCup actually dissolves during the repulping process and is easier to recycle compared to PE-coated cups,” he said.

The O’Kelly Group also provides 100 per cent compostable cups, and will need to work with recyclers and councils to ensure the cups are recycled.

According to Biopak, paper coffee cups account for only 0.5 per cent of the 3.2 million tons of paper consumed in Australia every year. Currently Australians send around 1.7 million tons of recyclable paper to landfill, this includes 12,000 tons of coffee cups.

“Compare Australia’s current 45 per cent paper recycling rate to some countries achieving a 75 per cent rate and it’s clear to see we have a problem that is bigger than coffee cups,” Mr Fine said.

Back in May, Trish Hyde, Australian Packaging Covenant Chief Executive Officer laid out some of the challenges of recycling coffee cups.

“The community is currently receiving many mixed messages about whether their coffee cup can be recycled or not,” Ms Hyde said.

“Because the actual cup is made from paperboard with a plastic lining, typically polyethylene, there was concern that this mixed material presents issues for recycling facilities.

“Our members include material recovery and recycling facilities. Through the working group, we resolved that coffee cups can be recycled. However, we also know that there is more work to do to ensure that recyclers receive fair value in recycling this material,” Ms Hyde said.

The list of councils accepting paper cups was recently verified by Planet Ark and The Australian Packaging Covenant.

This article originally appeared on BeanScene Magazine.

War on Waste focuses on scale of food waste

Chaser comedian Craig Reucassel has focused his new documentary War on Waste on the growing influx of waste generation in Australia.

Reucassel told News Corp Australia used to be a world-leading nation when it came to kerbside recycling, but has now fallen behind.

While politicians have to play a role in changing legislation, Reucassel said it was also up to supermarkets and consumers to create change.

The new documentary reveals up to 40 per cent of bananas are thrown away by farmers as they don’t meet standards set by supermarkets, including being too bent, straight, long or short.

“I was shocked by the waste,” Reucassel told News Corp.

“These bananas are highly edible but they don’t fit the cosmetic look. If they are too curved they are thrown out, if they are not curvy enough they are thrown out.

“It’s really hard being a banana these days.”

Reucassel said the thing that surprised him most was the sheer volume of fruit and vegetables that were simply tossed out, despite the months of work that goes into growing them.

“It’s very hard to make fruit or vegetables come out in a perfect way,” he said. “I saw a zucchini that was too big to be sold, because of one extra day’s rain, it’s crazy.

“I think it’s particularly sad when you think about how many people struggle to get food in Australia (and the world) that so much edible food is just chucked.”

Reucassel found that on average shoppers threw out the equivalent of one in five shopping bags worth of food at home, which is generally food that people buy but don’t get a chance to eat.

On the program he fills a Melbourne tram with disposable coffee cups (which generally cannot be recycled) to get people thinking about the staggering amount of rubbish that goes to landfill.

“I think a lot of people either don’t think about it or don’t know how to deal with it,” Reucassel said.

“We have a coffee culture in Australia built around takeaway coffee cups, but it’s not like that in all countries, this is a new waste stream that we are not dealing with.”