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Until January 2018 approximately 50 per cent of material collected for recycling in Australia was processed on-shore. The remaining 50 per cent was sent overseas for processing, mostly to China, India and South-East Asia.
In January 2018, China implemented a new policy called' the National Sword, which put restrictions on the kinds of recyclable material it will accept from overseas. It outlined that only material with a contamination rate of 0.5 per cent or less will be accepted. Following China's lead, other countries such as Malaysia and India are also in the process of putting an end to imports on international waste.
Contamination of recyclable materials occurs when items that do not belong in the recycling bin are placed in that bin. For example, placing plastic bags, garbage bags and other plastic wraps in your recycling bin contaminates that entire collection. The recyclable material Australia sent to China had a contamination rate of six per cent.
While finding current recycling options for materials is difficult, in the long term these changes will stimulate the local recycling industry, including creating new jobs.
The City of Canterbury Bankstown, along with councils all over Australia, are committed to working with industry and State and Federal Governments to come up with strategies to lower our national contamination rate.
We are working hard on our successful recycling initiatives, including:
Residents hold a powerful position in helping reduce the contamination rate. This is simply by recycling right. For every household recycling bin that is filled correctly, we're one step closer to having cleaner recyclable material.
To find out which bin you should put your rubbish in, visit