Waste war waged
How we manage the 64 million tonnes of waste Australia produces each year has become a talking point, particularly since China’s decision not to import anything but the most pristine products for recycling.
Australia has only been exporting about 4 per cent of its waste to China for recycling. It represents 1.3 million tonnes of waste, and includes about 30 per cent of paper and cardboard and 35 per cent of plastics.
China’s decision has raised questions like: how much do we know about what happens to the material in the recycling bin, where does it go, who processes it, and what can it be used to produce?
At the meeting of the environment ministers the other week in Melbourne, I, along with my colleague Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and environment ministers from all of our States and territories and local government representatives, tackled these issues.
We’ve developed a national “war on waste” plan to help Australians reduce, reuse and recycle. Ministers have endorsed a target of 100 per cent of all Australian packaging being recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 or earlier. Governments will work with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation to reach this target. Ministers also agreed to advocate for increased use of recycled materials in the goods Government and industry buy, and to collaborate on creating new markets for recycled materials.
From avoiding plastic bags in supermarkets to purchasing products made from recycled materials we can reverse a global trend.