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Waste not to recycle

Thursday, 29th April, 2010

Kurt Dickson (10) and his sister Jaime (11) made sure to drop their printer cartridges into Australia Post. Kurt Dickson (10) and his sister Jaime (11) made sure to drop their printer cartridges into Australia Post.

Research has revealed a startling gap in the waste recycling practices of Australian households.

An independent study, conducted for Planet Ark, has found correct recycling practices for printer cartridges, mobile phones, computers and other electrical equipment is considerably less than those of paper, plastic bottles and aluminium cans. "The research found more than 90 percent of Australians correctly dispose of everyday household recyclables, but when it comes to recycling e-waste (electronic waste) such as printer cartridges, almost 50 percent of people are getting it wrong," says Planet Ark's Campaigns Manager, Brad Gray. The research also revealed 14 percent of people put their used printer cartridges in their council provided recycling bin. "Printer cartridges are complex items which are unable to be recycled alongside everyday household waste," said Mr Gray. "When we put the wrong items in a household recycling bin, we contaminate the entire contents of the bin and reduce the effectiveness of the whole recycling process." Printer cartridges can easily be dropped off for recycling in "Cartridges 4 Planet Ark" collection bins, located at participating Australia Post and Dick Smith outlets. The campaign has already recycled 12 million cartridges, giving new life to what would otherwise become complex waste. "And with over 32,000 Australian businesses participating in the program, individuals who have a collection box in their workplace also have the option of recycling their household ink cartridges at work," said Mr Gray. "We also encourage any business that uses more than three printer cartridges a month to register for a free workplace collection box." Printer cartridges collected through "Cartridges 4 Planet Ark" are either returned to their original manufacturer for reuse, or recycled into new products by Planet Ark's resource recovery partner Close the Loop.

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