Australians underestimating waste generation in the workplace

Almost 50 per cent of Australians want to make changes to increase recycling rates at work, new study finds.

Half of Australians incorrectly think households create more waste than the business sector, according to new research commissioned by Planet Ark.

The research also found 47 per cent want to make changes to increase recycling rates at work but only a third reportedly know where to find accurate information on how to do so.

Planet Ark is taking steps to address the findings by releasing a new guide to assist Australian workers to reduce waste and improve recycling at work through simple actions.

A Simple Guide to Workplace Recycling Stardom is the latest offering from Planet Ark’s Business Recycling platform, a free service providing recycling and reuse information for Australian businesses since 2010.

“Our latest research clearly shows Australians want to do the right thing for the environment when at work, but need simple advice that makes it easy and accessible,” said Planet Ark Deputy CEO, Rebecca Gilling.

“By releasing this guide we hope to help workers around the country take action on recycling at work, whether they are baristas, bookkeepers or barristers.”

The guide aims to empower people regardless of their job title to make impactful changes that reduce waste at work, covering easy wins as well as more advanced workplace initiatives based on the latest in recycling research and behaviour change science.

Only 16 per cent of those surveyed correctly identified the construction industry as the sector generating the most waste in Australia.

According to the 2020 National Waste Report, construction and demolition created 27 million tonnes of waste and the commercial and industrial sector produced 21.9 million tonnes in 2018-19, compared to just 12.6 million tonnes of municipal waste from households.

Business Recycling enables Australian businesses to address their waste, increase efficiency and improve their reputation while reducing unnecessary costs.

The information provided on Business Recycling and Recycling Near You is representative of available recycling services in Australia. The Business Recycling program is made possible through the support of Foundation Partner, the NSW EPA.

Key research findings:

  • 49 per cent of Australians believe that households generate the most waste, compared to 33 per cent believing businesses generate the most waste and just 16 per cent correctly identifying the construction and demolition sector as generating the most waste.*
  • 47 per cent of Australians want to make changes to increase recycling rates at work.*
  • 43 per cent agree simple advice is required to help them implement recycling solutions at work.*
  • Only 32 per cent of Australians know where to find information on how to improve recycling rates at work.*
  • More than 1 million Australians have used Business Recycling since it was launched, with over 3 million page views.

* Research conducted by Pollinate. Sample: n=1,000, Australians 14-64, Mar’21

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