Articles on Waste

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Millions of tons of plastic are manufactured every year. Bert Kaufmann/Wikimedia

The world of plastics, in numbers

In 2015, over 320 million tons of polymers, excluding fibers, were manufactured across the globe.
Plastic debris strewn across a beach. (USFWS)

How to clean up our universal plastic tragedy

We're drowning in plastics. With governments setting un-ambitious targets, corporations are now listening to consumers who are demanding less plastic packaging and food containers.
The latest Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts tell us waste production is rising with GDP, but the information is incomplete and widely ignored. Estormiz/Wikimedia

You probably missed the latest national environmental-economic accounts – but why?

Water and energy use are becoming more efficient, which is good news for both the economy and the environment. But Australia has yet to realise the value of national environmental accounting.
There’s more to e-waste than the discarded monitors, cell phones and other electronics. (Shutterstock)

Almost everything you know about e-waste is wrong

No amount of post-consumer recycling can recoup the waste generated before consumers purchase their devices.
Sydney’s experience suggests that having separate bins for paper and bottles leads to better recycling. AAP Image/Tracy Nearmy

A crisis too big to waste: China’s recycling ban calls for a long-term rethink in Australia

Both short- and long-term solutions are needed to solve Australia's recycling crisis. State and federal ministers are pursuing some promising avenues, but they need to cast the net much wider.
A trash truck discharges solid waste at the South East Reserve Recovery Facility’s refuse storage pit in Long Beach, California, August 24, 2010. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Garbage in, garbage out: Incinerating trash is not an effective way to protect the climate or reduce waste

Most Americans don't want incinerators in their neighborhoods, so waste management companies are burning trash in other facilities such as cement kilns. Is this a sustainable way to deal with garbage?

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