Greens spokesperson on Waste & Recycling, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, responded to Monday’s 4 Corners program that exposed the crisis in Australia’s recycling industry.
“This problem has been a long time coming. The fall in commodity prices has demolished the previously successful business model based around co-mingled kerbside recycling.
“The response of government to this slow building crisis has been woeful. Millions of Australians have been diligently sorting their rubbish all for nothing. This is an outrage.
“The federal coalition has completely stalled on National Waste Policy. They abolished the COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water. They have not issued a National Waste Report in four years. And they have not issued a single policy directive.
“They have vacated the space and the result is that the recycling industry is in crisis and public trust is sure to follow.
“The environment minister must act now to save this industry and to help restore public faith. The environment minister must recommit the federal government to developing a National Waste Policy including binding national targets to achieve:
• 90% recovery of municipal waste by 2030;
• 75% recycling of packaging waste by 2030;
• a maximum of 10% landfilling of waste by 2030;
• mandated gas capture at large landfill sites; and
• a prohibition on incineration of waste.
“The Greens support the Senate Environment and Communications Committee recommendations that the Federal Government step in and legislate for a national container deposit scheme if the states have failed to act by 2019.
"South Australia gets ten times the price for glass collected because they colour sort glass through their container deposit scheme and there is less broken glass because refunds only occur on whole bottles, this wouldn't be an issue in NSW if they had the same effective recycling scheme.
“The Greens are also calling for mandatory product stewardship schemes for a range of problematic waste streams including tyres, mattresses, paint, batteries, and other electronic equipment,” he concluded.