We are in a waste management crisis. Australians produce over 67 million tonnes of waste per year. Compared with other similar developed countries, the Department of Environment says we generate "more waste than the average" and recycle "a little less than the average".
"Until about two years ago, Chinese companies processed a lot of our recyclable material, but that changed when the Government there brought in the National Sword Policy, which stopped the importation of 24 types of solid waste. It meant thousands of tonnes of recyclables — and so thousands of dollars to be made from recycling companies — suddenly had nowhere to go." - abc.net.au. The recycling industry is under immense pressure, recyling cannot be our only solution.
Two signficiant sources of waste that we aim to tackle here at My Milkman are plastic waste and food waste.
One important fact to note is that plastic bottles are usually not made of recycled plastic.
When you recycle a plastic bottle, they are often made into fibres for materials such as carpet. These are not recycled at the end of their life. Only ~20% of plastic bottles are turned into new plastic bottles.
This means that you can't recycle a plastic bottle and feel good about where it's going - you're only prolonging the life of the plastic by a little bit! It's much more impactful to avoid the plastic in the first place.
Between 2000 and 2018, around a third of the total waste generated, and more than half of all kerbside waste, went to landfill in 2017.
Two waste sources make up the bulk of all waste going to landfill — businesses generate 33 per cent and food makes up 20 per cent. Of household waste, food makes up 35 per cent of what goes to landfill.
Decreasing your food waste has a huge environmental impact, and it's the easiest source of waste for individuals to tackle. You can minimise your food waste by composting and buying food portions that are tailored to you.
Reducing waste is going to require a step change in behaviour, from consumers and businesses. At My Milkman we're excited to start doing business differently. Get your milkman today to eliminate plastic milk bottles from your life and from landfill.