For the last 25 years our newspaper recycling rate has risen dramatically – we’ve been up with the world leaders in recycling since 1997 when we surpassed the US rate. That is a rise from 28 per cent recycling at the start of 1990 to around 78 per cent over the last few years.
Australians are also leaders in reusing newspapers with 7.7% being used around the home in a variety of contexts from garden mulching, tinder in fireplaces, painting drop sheets, wrapping rubbish and in wrapping and protecting materials for moving. This figure represents 6.8 per cent of total newsprint consumption and, added to the countries official recycling rate, it means a combined reuse and recover figure of around 85 per cent – a figure considered likely to be close to the maximum achievable.
Importantly, this increase in reuse and recycling also has led to a drop in the amount of newspaper in landfill. The figure for newspaper in landfill has fallen from 3 per cent in 1990 to a value 10 times less: 0.3 per cent in 2013.