How we’re closing the loop for a circular economy

From packaging containing recycled content to helping you recycle everyday items like coffee pods and electronics, we’re contributing to the circular economy to help combat climate change and create a sustainable future.

At Australia Post, we believe that we all play a crucial part in building a sustainable future for the planet. As part of this role, we are dedicated as a business to moving from a traditional ‘linear’ economy towards a sustainable ‘circular’ economy. Here are the ways we are driving the circular economy (and how you can help, too!).

Educating Australians about the circular economy

A traditional linear economy consists of taking resources, making products and disposing of them—often leaving a hefty footprint on the environment. With the circular economy, the priority is to keep products and materials in circulation for as long as possible so the waste and emissions are minimised.

A circular economy is supported by three principles:

1. Keeping products and materials in circulation: designing products to allow for reuse, repair or remanufacturing to keep them in the economy.

2. Regenerating natural systems: avoiding using non-renewable materials and feeding natural resources back to ecosystems to allow them to restore.

3. Designing out waste and pollution: eliminating the concept of waste and maximising the use of materials by design.

Our commitment to reduce the impact of packaging

We're committed to delivering better environmental outcomes, so we’ve designed a range of Australia Post-branded plastic satchels that are made with 80% recycled content. Australia Post parcel boxes are locally made with recycled materials, and carry the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo. This certification means that any virgin paper used is sourced from sustainably managed forests. You can recycle our parcel boxes in kerbside bins.

By reusing existing materials, we’re decreasing the need to generate new materials from the ground up, ultimately helping to reduce our environmental impact. 
We support an industry group that is working hard to re-establish soft plastics recycling in Australia so that at the end of life, plastic packaging can be recycled. Be sure to check the Australian Recycling Label on packaging to ensure you recycle correctly.  

Leveraging our delivery network to enable the circularity of other products

With a delivery network of over 4,000 outlets, we’re well positioned to enable circularity programs through the collection (at the retail stores) or distribution (through our network) of materials for reuse, recover or recycle. Here are some of the programs we run:

Coffee pod recycling

To help solve the issue of coffee pod waste, Australia Post and Nespresso teamed up a number of years ago to save millions of aluminium pods going into landfill. Together, we designed a special pre-paid Australia Post recyclable satchel that holds 130 capsules. By using the postal network, customers can easily participate in the circular economy by returning their pods after their daily caffeine hit. Nespresso then goes on to compost the residual coffee and the aluminium is used to make new aluminium products.

Donating technology waste

Australia Post has partnered with social enterprise PonyUp for Good over the past four years. Australia Post donates some of their technology waste to PonyUp who re-purposes and sells it, with 50 percent of the profits being donated to SecondBite. SecondBite rescues and redistributes edible waste food to help feed Aussies doing it tough. To date, Australia Post and PonyUp have collected 48,829 kilos of technology from Australia Post sites, and through SecondBite contributed to more than 67,000 meals to people in need.

Mobiles and cartridges recycling

Mobile phones and cartridges can’t be recycled via kerbside, so we have partnered with Mobile Muster to collect mobile phones and Cartridges4Planet Ark to collect printer cartridges.

To recycle your printer cartridges simply drop them off at participating Post Offices. Cartridges are converted into other items such as road surface, bollards, furniture, playground and gym mats and even railway sleepers.

To recycle your old mobile phones, you can pick up a Mobile Muster satchel from participating Post offices and send them off for free. The materials of the old mobile components, such as glass, aluminium, lithium and precious metals from mobile phone waste into are recovered to reuse again valuable materials for reuse.

Learn more about all the ways we are committed to helping build a sustainable society.