Keep the environment clean: WD-40’s initiative to help boost waste reduction

Keep the environment clean

Fuelled by exponential population growth, urbanisation, economic growth, and consumer shopping habits we are seeing waste problems escalating. Globally, it is anticipated that by 2050 we will produce 3.4 billion metric tons of waste, of which we only recycle 20%.

Aussies generate around 67 Million tonnes of waste yearly, with around 10%-18% year-on-year growth. Most of this is considered core waste, the stuff that goes out to bin collection.

However, we only recycle around 13 million tonnes, much of which ends up in diverse places, from being shipped abroad to several Asian countries such as India, Malaysia, and until recently China (we export approximately 4.4 million tonnes), while some of the core waste sits around in warehouses as there are no viable markets to funnel it into production yet.

How is Australia approaching the waste problem?

While Australia is vying to curb the ever-growing amount of waste and especially hard waste which adds to the copious amounts of core waste clogging up landfills, our recycling efforts across plastics, glass, paper/cardboard etc are noteworthy but below the global average.

Come to recyclables, about 130 000 of plastics make their way into our waterways and Oceans. Despite the collapse of the soft plastics recycling scheme, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek announced a pledge by the govt to be recycling 100% of plastics by 2040.

The issue is certainly mounting. In an aim to really curb the creation of waste, implement waste reduction, and scale recycling efforts globally, we are seeing big brands and companies taking steps in the right direction, with the likes of Emirate Airlines providing passengers with soft blankets made from recycled plastic bottles, or IKEA who purchased a stake in a Dutch plastic recycling firm over five years ago to take steps toward a cyclic economy.

More recently, global brand WD-40 launched a campaign called ‘Repair – Don’t Replace’ which aims to appeal directly to consumers encouraging them to consider repairing their equipment, tools, toys, washers, machinery, pushbikes, and the like, rather than replacing them.

Australia alone currently produces around 12 million tonnes of solid waste, which are those bulky things that end up on curbside collections, dumps, or worse – over the back fence. Therefore, it is this chunk of our colossal waste problem each of us can actually tackle because recycling an old bicycle, scooter, lawn mower or washing machine will actually be a lot easier than trying to keep almost any other form of household waste out of landfill.

How can Australians help out?

“If Australia’s population really got involved, we can actually save thousands of tons of recyclable or repairable items from going to waste. If we all just took a moment to consider if an old bicycle, mower, motor, piece of machinery or equipment could be repaired rather than being tossed out, we would not only be supporting our environment but our wallets too,” commented Nick Roberts, General Manager for ANZ at WD-40 Company.

“The crucial thing to remember is, that with all the recycling efforts going on, we have to ensure to buy recycled items and those made from recycledresources to close the loop and grow the cyclic economy,” said Roberts who is leading the global initiative in Australia.

Having invested heavily in the campaign and rolling it out across all of their major markets, including Australia, WD-40 is not only hoping to inspire a sentiment reminiscent of the old ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ motto, but to get people to rethink purchasing choices, on an in-home level and the wider impact their decisions have environmentally on the world at large.

To encourage participation, WD-40, best known for its multi-use spray lubricant which can be found in almost every workshop, car boot, and garage, has launched a platform where repair jobs can be submitted and uploaded to share the diverse projects people are undertaking to inspire others to join the global initiative. With the campaign being rolled out globally, details and how to participate in Australia can be found at the website set up for this campaign.

“We are really hoping to make an impact on the micro level, knowing that lots of small changes can bring about a big shift and have a major impact. The campaign really aims to kick-start a different outlook and approach, which we hope will generate lasting change when it comes to hard waste, both here in Australia and internationally,” Nick Roberts further said.

“It is really the bigger picture we all have to keep in mind. Everything we repair gets a new life well away from landfill. This means it is not making way for a new item, which puts money back into people’s pockets, and for those actively trying to solve the waste problem, each repaired item is literally one thing less they have to worry about,” concluded Roberts.

The ‘Repair – Don’t Replace’ campaign launched only seven weeks ago yet already inspiring countless repair workshops and onboarding community groups, environmentalists and SMBs alike from around Australia with hundreds of individual submissions received. Happy Repairing, Reusing, and Recycling – the environment and future generations will thank you.