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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

6 October 2004

National hotline to cut waste and greenhouse gas

A new recycling hotline will enable every Australian to maximise their participation in the national recycling effort, the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell said.

"Today I am announcing a national recycling hotline that will provide every Australian with access to information about what they can and can't recycle and what recycling facilities are available in their local area." Senator Campbell said.

"This initiative will build on Planet Ark's "Recycling Near You" website where people can type in their postcode and access a range of information about local recycling services.

"We know people are keen to recycle, but there is still a lot of recyclable material being thrown away, or non-recyclables mixed in with recyclable materials that then can't be used because they are contaminated.

"From bottles and cans to paper and plastics, mobile phones to toner cartridges and fridges, a freecall number means everyone in the community will be able to quickly and easily access this information so that we can minimise recycling contamination and make the most of people's recycling efforts."

Senator Campbell said the Coalition Government would invest $300,000 over the next three years to set up the hotline together with Planet Ark, local government, and the recycling industry.

"Everyone has a role to play in reducing the amount of rubbish going into landfill and the greenhouse emissions that result."

Planet Ark Chief Executive Jon Dee said research showed 96 percent of Australians said their local recycling was important to them, but 65 percent were confused about what they could and couldn't recycle.

"It is vital that people are better educated about what to recycle and how - that's why the hotline is so important," Mr Dee said.

Members of the Australian Council of Recyclers (ACOR) currently recycle in excess of 11 million tonnes of resources annually. Members recycle household material such as used packaging paper, glass, plastics, cans and also construction materials, telephones, electronic and electrical materials, cars, used oil and a wide range of resources.

"ACOR welcomes the initiative announced today to provide additional funding to assist the community improve their recycling performance," Ms Anne Prince, CEO, ACOR said.

"Industry has invested heavily in state-of-the-art recycling facilities, to recover and recycle a multitude of items from bottles and cans to computers and cars. However, there are still millions of tonnes of materials which can be recovered for recycling that are being thrown away. Once an item goes in the garbage bin or to the tip it is a lost resource for industry, the community and the environment," she said.

Senator Campbell said the Howard Government had lead the way in waste management with initiatives such as the National Packaging Covenant, the National Pollutant Inventory, the Eco-Efficiency Programme for industry, and the ChemCollect Programme which retrieved more than 2000 tonnes of farm and veterinary chemicals.

"We have developed a partnership with Planet Ark to reduce plastic shopping bag use by small retailers through practical measures that cut the cost of re-usable bags for small business. This will help phase out plastic shopping bag use altogether by 2008."

Senator Campbell also announced the Coalition Government would invest $2 million over two years in advanced oil recycling technologies such as hydrogenation.

"Through the Coalition's Product Stewardship Oil Programme, more than 500 waste oil recycling facilities have been set up with a further 2000 coming on line.

"Currently, more than 80 percent of the used oil available for recycling is being collected, but we want to increase that, as well as make better use of the oil that is being recycled."

Commonwealth of Australia