From toilet paper to chairs, jackets to dog leads, there are many recycled products that are excellent quality, so consider buying recycled when you buy.
While putting out the recycling rubbish gives us a modest glow of goodness, the often neglected part of the recycling loop is the purchase of products made of recycled material. By actively supporting the reuse of recycled plastics, paper and other materials through purchasing these products we are truly recycling. This way we encourage the growth of design and product businesses seeking to reduce their impact on the environment through the creation of closed-loop systems that save nature from having to absorb these materials.
How to do it now!
Purchase 'high in recycled material' whenever possible
By re-tuning your shopping filter to notice and buy products with recycled components you will create demand for those items you put on the kerb each week.
Explore products, brands and stores specialising in products made from recycled material
The following sites will help you find those businesses leading the charge toward responsible purchasing:
Good Environmental Choice - Australia provides further information about specific recycled products and recycled labelling.
Australian Department of Environment - Environmental Purchasing Checklist for Recycled Products for human settlement.
The Australian Green Procurement product database lists over 200 items that are certified Good Environmental Choice products.
Planet Ark - Recycling Near You lists a range of inner city charity stores that are great places to pick up a bargain and help a great cause at the same time!
Oxfam Shop includes a wide range of recycled products.
Why is this action important?
Recycling has a two-fold effect on the environment. It reduces the need to extract more materials from nature and it circumvents large amounts of concentrated and often toxic man-made materials entering and having to be processed by nature.
In 2002-03, Australia generated approximately 32.4 million tonnes of solid waste or about 1.7 tonnes per capita. Approximately 60 per cent of this waste is buried in landfill. This represents a huge ongoing loss of invested energy, extracted resources and natural services that could otherwise be recycled back into other man-made products and materials.
Recycling of toxic chemicals, radioactive materials and other non-biodegradable materials is an alternative to the attempt to store them in landfill facilities. Inadequate disposal of these materials has allowed many man-made toxins to enter the coastal environment and in some cases even contaminate seafood (such as Mercury). Mercury turns into its organic form, methyl mercury, and accumulates in the tissue of tuna, swordfish and shark (large, old fish at top of food chain). In addition chemicals can upset the balances of marine food webs. Through recycling we can begin to lessen this impact, the more products bought and recycled, the better off our environments are.