October 4, 2023
As part of our commitment to helping the Australia’s younger generation discover how to recycle right, Planet Ark has been conducting free school sessions on sustainability and the ARL. Chuck, our recycling superstar, takes part in select sessions to help make these learning opportunities fun, memorable, and easily understandable!
As the only evidence-based recycling label in Australia, the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) helps remove the confusion from recycling and reduce waste going to landfill. It's all about understanding how to recycle and why it is important for the environment, so remember to check the label before you chuck it.
Based on research from 2022, awareness of the ARL has dramatically increased by 60 per cent over the past four years, with three out of four Australians now recognising it. Of the surveyed population, youth audiences, aged 16-24, demonstrated the strongest awareness and recognition of the ARL among all age groups. These figures represent a common trend regarding the interest and growing knowledge in sustainability practices in our younger generations.
There are many explanations for this trend, though access to more information and the importance of sustainability in more recent years plays an important role. In terms of recycling in particular, it can be confusing to understand and interpret on-pack information when there are hundreds of recycling labels commonly used. As an organisation that strives to educate Australians on positive environment impacts, we understand that primary school is an important period for cementing life-long behaviour models, and so making sure to cut through the misinformation with accurate advice is an important objective for us.
Our work with the ARL is one of the many areas in which we provide consumer education for correct recycling and sustainable practices. Thanks to our partnership with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) we were able to take our educational resources on the road to engage with students in person to educate and have fun with recycling. We have conducted fifty in-person sessions across New South Wales and Queensland, educating 3,500 students from early learning to Year 10!
In our school sessions, we were able to help students improve their recycling behaviours, tackle some recycling misconceptions, and most importantly, have fun. Something we were greatly impressed with was how engaged many students already are with sustainability and recycling concepts. The important next step is ensuring this awareness is converted into practice proactively and effectively.
We find the ARL is an important tool for connecting with individuals and teaching them that their responsibilities lie beyond the bin. By reaching out to school students, we are encouraging them to use the power in their hands when it comes to managing precious resources, understanding how the materials they use have an impact beyond intended use, and how they can make a meaningful impact through their use and reuse habits.
While we didn’t get to visit all the schools we were hoping to reach, students still have the opportunity to benefit from our ARL learning resources through our curriculum-aligned lesson plans. Many of these lessons and other school resources can be prepared for students in time for the Schools Recycle Right Challenge, which starts October 9, 2023.
The team at Planet Ark and the ARL would like to thank the following schools for helping ‘check it before we chuck it’ and providing the opportunity to hold our ARL incursions. Without the support of teachers and administrators at these schools, our education sessions would not have been possible:
Bellevue Park State School
Gold Coast Christian College
Guildford Public School
International Grammar School
Llandilo Public School
Pymble Ladies’ College
Quakers Hill North Preschool
St Maroun’s College
St Michael's Blacktown South
Zahra Grammar School
Nick joined Planet Ark in 2021 coming from a background of graphic design and marketing communications. A self-described “jack-of-all-trades’, Nick likes to channel his helpful nature and enthusiasm for change in all aspects of life from his social life and work to his community volunteering.