Recycling means that a waste material is returned to a factory where it is re-made into either the same product or something different. It is generally better than sending material to landfill as less new material is needed to be mined to make recycled things, and less energy is used too. However, the environmental, social and economic costs need to be investigated to understand the full implications of sending Tasmania's paper, metal and plastic recycling off-shore.
In Tasmania, most of our recycling goes to facilities managed by SKM (Southern region), Veolia (Devonport and Burnie region) and ToxFree (Glamorgan and Launceston region). The materials are sorted and sent to the mainland or overseas for processing. Paper for example is sent either to mainland processing facilities or to Asia depending on the comodity proces and the value of the Australian dollar. Futher investigations would be required but it appears that around 50% of the paper/cardboard is processed on the mainland, 50% overseas.
To really increase the amount of plastic bottles and cans collected for recycling in Tasmania, we need a waste levy and a container deposit scheme (CDS). According to the Government's recent investigations, the net cost of a CDS (cost of infrastructure provision, refunds, etc.) wouldn't be funded with taxpayers money but instead would be almost entirely funded by beverage manufacturers, possibly with 10c higher prices on products.
Container Deposits Scheme – State of Play (this is where the idea of the deposit being used as a donation to charity is suggested)