War On Waste's Craig Reucassel has new targets in his sights for Season Two

The war goes on!

By Scott Ellis
For a second season of War On Waste, Craig Reucassel is a man on a mission.
Season one of the ABC series won a Logie for Most Outstanding Factual Or Documentary Program at the recent TV WEEK Logie Awards on the Gold Coast.
The show highlighted the damage we do when we throw away things that could be recycled, waste food or resources, and ignore the impact we have on the environment.
Craig has had some success. The move towards reusable cups for takeaway coffee is a victory helped along by the exposure the series brought.
Craig's crusade is targeting paper cups and plastic.
But Craig wants more. In season two, he has a range of new targets. They include one that will surprise everyone: the humble straw.
It's not impossible to change our habits, Craig, 41, tells TV WEEK. Sometimes, all it needs is someone to point out the problem.
"Woolies and Coles, for example, went ahead on the issue of single-use plastic bags," Craig says. "That's amazing. And there have been some other obvious changes recently. But there's still work to do."
Here are five things Craig is waging war on in War On Waste


"It's amazing how many straws people go through," he says. (One pub Craig visits dispenses 10,000 plastic straws a month.)
"And it's just so unnecessary. Some people do need them, but for others, putting a straw in a drink is just a habit.
"If you ever go looking for straws, you'll find that, after the plain black ones, Maccas straws are everywhere. We visited them [McDonald's]and, hopefully, they'll change. McDonald's in the United Kingdom is looking at it, so let's see."
Straw poll: Counting the number picked up by school children.

Wasted food

"We'll look a bit more at food waste," Criag says. "One of the first steps to reduce that is reducing how much you buy in the first place."Some councils will now collect all your food waste. That's a better approach and one that works overseas.
"When we went to Sweden for a follow-up story, the people there were amazed that we bury food in Australia."


"With China no longer taking our recycling [since January, it has tightened restrictions on imported recyclable materials], that's started to create a bit of concern and lack of trust," Craig says.
"People want to know what happens to the items they recycle. And we'll be honest about that and show that, 'Yes, there definitely is some stuff going into landfill.'
"We'll focus on how we solve the problem of recyclable items that are 'too contaminated'. Maybe that's where we need new packaging labels, so people know what they can and can't put in the bin."
Craig shows the impact our wasteful ways are having.


"E-waste [electronic waste, such as old or broken TVs, computers and mobile phones] is really interesting," Craig says.
"I had a look around my house and found several things that should be recycled, but haven't been. Why does that happen? And what are the benefits of recycling e-waste?
"It's important, because there's [societal] pressure to upgrade electronics. We end up with these 'spares' around the house. Telstra, Vodafone and Optus all have mobile-phone recycling boxes. You just have to find them."

Bottled water

"Drink bottles are a big problem," Craig declares. "It's incredible how many wind up in our waterways and are then washed out to sea.
"And so much of the cost of a bottle of water is the packaging. We tested the bottled variety against tap water and found that buying it makes no sense.
"It's hard to understand why people buy bottled water. It's so unnecessary. It's amazing that they think it's healthier!"
The second season of War On Waste premieres Tuesday 24th of July, 8.30pm, on ABC.

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