Plas­tics pack­ag­ing overkill irks min­is­ter

The West Australian - - NEWS - Daniel Mercer

WA could uni­lat­er­ally im­pose reg­u­la­tions on re­tail­ers such as su­per­mar­kets to pre­vent the use of “un­nec­es­sary” pack­ag­ing in a bid to im­prove the State’s low re­cy­cling rate.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Stephen Daw­son said he would not rule out go­ing it alone and ban­ning the pack­ag­ing of prod­ucts such as fruit and veg­eta­bles in mul­ti­ple lay­ers of plas­tic de­spite his pref­er­ence for na­tional ac­tion.

The com­ments came as Mr Daw­son launched a draft ver­sion of the State’s lat­est waste blue­print in which WA’s con­tin­u­ing poor house­hold re­cy­cling per­for­mance is laid bare.

The Waste Strat­egy 2030 doc­u­ment shows West Aus­tralians gen­er­ated more waste per per­son than those in any other State or ju­ris­dic­tion, while they sent the sec­ond high­est amount of rub­bish to the tip.

They also re­cov­ered the sec­ond low­est amount of re­sources, with 52 per cent of ma­te­ri­als used dis­posed of to land­fill in 2014-15, the lat­est year for which fig­ures are avail­able.

Mr Daw­son said though the fig­ures were an im­prove­ment on those from five years ear­lier, they were still not good enough.

He flagged shak­ing up the Govern­ment’s ap­proach, say­ing the State could di­rect coun­cils to adopt the three­bin sys­tem, which was aimed at re­duc­ing con­fu­sion for house­holds and lift­ing re­cy­cling rates.

And even though su­per­mar­ket gi­ants Coles and Wool­worths were mov­ing to re­duce plas­tic pack­ag­ing they sold, Mr Daw­son said the Govern­ment would also con­sider bring­ing in reg­u­la­tions in the ab­sence of na­tional ac­tion.

“The big­gest bug­bear of mine is go­ing to a su­per­mar­ket to buy fruit and veg­eta­bles to see them in a plas­tic tray, wrapped in plas­tic and sold,” he said.

“It’s to­tally un­nec­es­sary.”

As part of the strat­egy, which has been re­leased to stake­hold­ers for feed­back, new tar­gets would be set for waste re­duc­tion and in­creased re­cy­cling.

Un­der these, there would be a 10 per cent re­duc­tion in per per­son waste gen­er­a­tion by 2025, ris­ing to 20 per cent by 2030, 70 per cent of ma­te­ri­als would be re­cov­ered by 2025, and “no more than” 15 per cent of rub­bish gen­er­ated in Perth would go to land­fill by 2025.

Mr Daw­son said the tar­gets were am­bi­tious com­pared with WA’s cur­rent per­for­mance, but he was con­fi­dent they could be met.

He said the Govern­ment would look to lead by ex­am­ple through mea­sures such as us­ing build­ing and de­mo­li­tion rub­ble, WA’s big­gest source of waste, as road base.

It’s to­tally un­nec­es­sary. En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Stephen Daw­son

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