Lack of recycling regulations in Australia
By Sarah Michael
Almost 90 per cent of Australian homes have access to recycling but many don’t know what the various symbols stand for.
A report released by Victoria University entitled “The Role of Labels in Directing Consumer Packaging Waste”, found that many are confused by the numerous recycling symbols currently in use.
Author of the report, Sarah Buelow says some of the most commonly used recycling symbols are also the most misunderstood.
“The little chasing arrows with the number inside that’s on pretty much all plastic packaging that you’ll find, everyone thinks that that’s the recycling symbol when it’s actually just the identification code to inform you what plastic the package is made out of.
“People automatically assume that means recycle it when that’s not really, that’s definitely not what its saying.”
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Buelow thinks that manufacturers are using too many different kinds of symbols and consumers are left confused because there is no standard set in place.
“There is a whole bunch of different things kind of all based on the same ideas but they [the labels] are just very different. You can combine those labels… because only a few of them are regulated. It’s a bit of a free-for-all.”