Despite the best efforts of the Government to support industry, the infrastructure is not yet in place in Australia to deal with the processing of volumes of mixed plastics currently in the market, according to Tony Khoury, executive director of the Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA).
He said thhere has been the development of some new facilities, but there are other facilities that are in progress but not yet commissioned, as well as many other plans in the planning phase.
“If this issue is not suitably addressed, our concern and the concern of our members is that this will result in stockpiles of plastics (causing fire hazards) and/or in valuable plastic resources being sent to landfill,” said Khoury. “To this extent, and to allow adequate time for the development of enough suitable, compliant facilities to process mixed plastics domestically, we strongly recommend that the Federal Government extend the start date for the banning of unprocessed plastics by 12 months to 1 July 2022.”
MRFs across Australia will not be able to ensure processing of all mixed plastics without significant storage costs and potential EPA depot license breaches, Khoury said.
“Until there are enough facilities available to process these plastics, that are all mixed and coming through the kerbside domestic collection system, alternative solutions need to be developed,” he said. “It should be noted that some MRFs provide services to other organisations that have been unable to process their stocks of mixed plastics. These MRFs will no longer be able to provide those services, which will create issues for other operators in the recycling industry.”