Kartaway are a leading company recycling waste in Australia and are a part of its recycling history. Householders, through necessity, re-used and recycled many items in the early days but recycling on a larger scale began later. As early as 1815 one Australian paper mill used recycled rags to make paper. Waste paper collections were the earliest organised recycling programs, beginning in Melbourne in the 1920s and spread to other cities in the 1940s; cart and horse collections of newspapers from households became common.
Another recycling industry established in earlier times was metals, with Henry Ford recycling his Model T Fords in the 1920s and BHP Steel recycling industrial steel scrap in 1915. Scrap metal dealers recovered and re-sold valuable metals. It was during this era that Paul Joseph Whelan’s demolition business began selling second hand building material from the sites. His company, Whelan The Wrecker, became famous in Melbourne and was the fore-runner to Kartaway.
During the mid 20th century glass bottles had a return deposit on them and were re-used by the manufacturers, popular with children to gain extra pocket money and scouting groups for fund raising. Over 20 years ago Comalco set up a ‘cash for cans’ program with buy-back centres where children and community groups could return cans for cash.
Canterbury Council began using magnetic separation to recover steel waste, including cans in 1975 and in 1977 South Australia introduced container deposit legislation, encouraging the return of beverage containers for recycling.
The need for extensive recycling was finally recognised in the late 80’s and early 90’s when councils introduced kerbside recycling schemes. Households could now separate out common items such as paper, glass and aluminium, and later PET, HDPE milk containers, liquidpaperboard milk and juice cartons and steel cans. In 1997 Kartaway opened the first public Recycling Depot at 32 Kirkdale Rd, East Brunswick. The Depot is able to accept green waste, metal, cardboard, timber, batteries, electronic waste, vinyl records, dirt, brick, concrete and asphalt, diverting these items from landfill.