$67 million of the spend will be dedicated to new food and garden organic waste (FOGO) initiatives designed to divert organic materials from landfill for enriching agricultural soils.In July this year, Australian waste providers will no longer be able to export plastic waste for processing and recycling offshore. For the first time in a long time we will be expected to deal with our own plastic waste domestically in Australia.To assist with this transition and to address the issue of plastic waste more broadly, the Australian Government released earlier this year its National Plastics Plan.
According to the National Plastics Plan, in 2018-2019 Australians used 3.4 million tonnes of plastics, one million tonnes of which was single use plastic.
84 per cent of plastic in Australia is sent to landfill and only 13 per cent is recycled, with over 130,000 tonnes of plastic leaking into our marine environment.
According to the Plastic Waste Makers index 20 firms produce 55 per cent of the world’s plastic waste and we Australians generate the most single-use plastic waste on a per capita basis annually (59kg per person), that is ahead of the United States, South Korea and Britain.
To help address our addiction to plastics and the impacts of plastic on our natural environment, the Federal Government’s National Plastics Plan focuses on a number of strategic actions and milestones, which include:
- Phasing out the most problematic plastics;
- Working to make our beaches and oceans plastic free
- Introducing laws to ensure Australia takes responsibility for its plastic waste
- Investing to increase our recycling capacity
- Investing in research to find new recycling technologies and alternatives to the plastics we don’t need; and
- Supporting the community to help Australian’s recycling efforts.
Under the National Plan, industry is expected to deliver four National Packaging Targets by 2025:
- 100 per cent of packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable;
- 70 per cent of plastic packaging goes to be recycled or composted;
- 50 per cent average recycled content within packaging (20 per cent for plastic packaging); and
- Phase-out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging.
BINGO’s head of sustainability, Nik Comito, believes the challenge to address Australia’s plastics problems provides the industry with great opportunities.
“The commitment of governments at all levels signals that real change is on the way for plastics and plastics recycling in this country. The investment they are making to address this issue encourages BINGO and other recyclers to develop the solutions needed such as new technologies and assets to ensure plastics are recovered and recycled,” Comito said.
“Our new world-class recycling center at Eastern Creek will be capable of sorting out plastic materials from mix waste construction and industrial streams and we are looking very closely at the possibility of developing our in-house capabilities to recycle this offtake,” he said.