Pack­ag­ing fails to make the cut, but we re- use plas­tics

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Investments - Keith Orchi­son

THE good news is that Aus­tralians are re­cy­cling enough plas­tics each year to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground five times; the bad news is that in the key tar­get area for re­cy­cling, pack­ag­ing, we are send­ing less than a third for re- use.

The latest Plas­tics and Chem­i­cals In­dus­tries As­so­ci­a­tion sur­vey shows that Aus­tralian an­nual con­sump­tion of pack­ag­ing would fill the MCG al­most 12 times and only 30.5 per cent of it is re­cy­cled. In re­leas­ing the sur­vey, PACIA chief ex­ec­u­tive Mar­garet Donnan praised Aus­tralians for be­ing among the world’s best in plas­tics re­cy­cling but ac­knowl­edged there’s more we can do for the en­vi­ron­ment’’.

The Euro­pean Union re­cy­cling tar­get for plas­tic pack­ag­ing, Donnan points out, is 22.5 per cent by the end of this year while Aus­tralia reached 30.5 per cent in 2005 and again the fol­low­ing year.

This per­for­mance, she ar­gues, demon­strates the suc­cess of co- oper­a­tive agree­ments such as the na­tional pack­ag­ing covenant that in­volves gov­ern­ments, in­dus­try and com­mu­ni­ties in re­duc­ing despatch of plas­tics waste to land­fill.

PACIA’s pol­icy is to see plas­tic waste to land­fill elim­i­nated in Aus­tralia.’’

The as­so­ci­a­tion main­tains firm op­po­si­tion to a ban on plas­tic bags, how­ever. Donnan urges gov­ern­ments to in­stead in­crease the penal­ties on peo­ple and com­pa­nies for al­low­ing any ma­te­ri­als to lit­ter parks, roads and wa­ter­ways. She points out that plas­tic bags make up just 2 per cent of this lit­ter.

Donnan says a plas­tic bags ban will only dis­ad­van­tage con­sumers and busi­nesses while leav­ing ir­re­spon­si­ble in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies to con­tinue lit­ter­ing. Re­spon­si­ble con­sumers have al­most halved their use of plas­tic bags in less than a year,’’ she adds,

and many house­holds re- use the bags they re­ceive when buy­ing gro­ceries and other goods.’’

The an­nual sur­vey, un­der­taken in­de­pen­dently for PACIA, shows Aus­tralian use of plas­tics is on a solid up­ward trend, ris­ing 14.7 per cent in eight years to 2006 while the in­crease in re­cy­cling is near­ing tre­ble 1997’ s.

Vic­to­ria is by far the lead­ing state in re­cy­cling plas­tics pack­ag­ing — pass­ing the 75,000 tonne mark in 2006, well ahead of the more pop­u­lated NSW ( 49,500 tonnes) with the other four states and the ACT man­ag­ing a to­tal of 53,000 tonnes be­tween them.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.