Turning the tide on trash with the ABC's War On Waste
Author: Liam Taylor
Australia was taken by storm last year by a TV series all about rubbish. That series was ABC TV’s award-winning lifestyle series War on Waste, which put the spotlight on Australia’s poor waste and recycling habits.
Over the course of the series, host Craig Reucassel took a critical look at the phenomenal amounts of household, retail and farming waste produced in Australia and asked what led us to become one of the most wasteful nations in the developed world.
In 2017 the series reached 4.3 million viewers and came to be the ABC’s most successful social media campaign in its history. A single video on the practice of dumping edible bananas due to cosmetic issues attracted over 20 million views.
The impact of the series was not only felt in viewership numbers though. Following War on Waste both Woolworths and Coles announced lightweight plastic bag bans, the Keep Cup company experienced a 400% rise in sales and the number of Responsible Cafes went from 420 to 3600 in the last 12 months.
It’s fair to say the series had a lasting impact on the Australian psyche, but the war is far from over. This year, Craig is back with Season 2 of War on Waste with his sights firmly set on our unhealthy reliance on plastic, the effects of e-waste on our environment and the food waste resulting from eating out.
The first episode explored our problematic relationship with single-use plastic items that are not only (for the most part) unnecessary, but also pose significant threats to our waterways and marine life. The episode reached almost a million Australians (942,000), up from 759,000 viewers for last year's premier.
Our very own man of science Dr. Sean O’Malley, Head of Research, featured in a discussion with Craig on the lack of consistent recycling information on packaging and the potential of the Australasian Recycling Label to address this information gap.
To help navigate the inevitable swell of information and questions that arise from this year’s series, Planet Ark has created a handy War on Waste Tips page. Information on the page includes:
- Tips for dealing with single-use plastics.
- How to do better with our food waste.
- Where we are at with e-waste recycling.
- A ‘reuse’ information hub.
- Information on setting up recycling systems in schools.
- Our business recycling toolkit.
- The low-down on the Australasian Recycling Label and how it can reduce confusion around recycling.
- Why we should see China’s restriction on importing waste materials as an opportunity.
Tune in via ABC TV or iView and join the war on waste!
War on Waste Resources
- ABC TV War On Waste homepage.
- War on Waste Tips page on Recycling Near You.
- Business Recycling Toolkit.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.
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