Hopes high for new recycling initiative

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 10th September 2009

A new recycling initiative was launched today at the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre in Queensland, marking the beginning of a national rollout that is expected to result in hundreds of tonnes of beverage packaging being diverted away from landfill.

The combined industry and government initiative, which will see improved recycling infrastructure and signage in food courts and more efficient back-of-house management systems, has been led by the Packaging Stewardship Forum (PSF) of the Australian Food and Grocery Council and supported by the Queensland Government, the National Packaging Covenant and Lend Lease managed shopping centres.

Recycling initiative

General Manager of the the Packaging Stewardship Forum, Jenny Pickles, said that the initiative was an important step in encouraging recycling when people are away from home and demonstrated a commitment by all stakeholders, including the beverage industry, to increase the recycling of its packaging.

“There are more than 1,300 shopping centres in Australia, which attract more than 1.75 billion shopper visits per year,” she noted. “If we can capture the recyclable products from the waste disposed during each of these visits, we are going to make a significant difference to people’s behaviour, which will translate into a tangible difference on our environment.”

“It is critical that we encourage the recycling of items such as bottles and cans by keeping it simple and making it easy for the public and for shopping centre staff to do the right thing. That’s what the bins and signage aim to achieve. We are promoting behavioural change amongst consumers, which we believe will feed through into other areas including the home and workplace.”

Lend Lease managed centres forecasts indicate the scheme will see an increase of over 400% in the recycling of bottles and cans. This equates nationally to at least 210 tonnes of waste saved from landfill each year – the equivalent of almost 100 rubbish trucks. As the programme expands, it is expected that this figure will continue to grow.

Queensland’s Minister for the Environment and Resource Management, Kate Jones, officially launched the initiative at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre this morning.

The signage carries an awareness campaign message, devised by DERM and the PSF, of Do the Right Thing, Use the Right Bin – aimed at encouraging people to make the effort when they are away from home to not only put their rubbish in the bin, but to put it in the right bin.

Rhon Levin, Lend Lease’s CEO of Retail in Australia, said the initial signs suggest that the message has been well received by customers.

“While it is early days yet, since the installation of the new recycling systems at Indooroopilly in June 2009, we have already seen a 300% increase in the recycling of bottles and cans by our customers, taking recyclable material collected to around four tonnes per month,” he advised. “Rolling this initiative out across Lend Lease’s retail portfolio will result in a significant reduction in waste to landfill and greenhouse gases.”

The $170,000 initiative is funded by the PSF, the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM), National Packaging Covenant and Lend Lease managed shopping centres.