The Morrison Government is backing a new era of environmental science, announcing the universities and research centres that will host four ‘mega’ research hubs in the next phase of Australia’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP) This includes the Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub.
Brussels will introduce mandatory recycling targets for battery makers including electric car manufacturers from 2030. The move comes as the EU attempts to meet growing demand for vital raw materials without undermining its ambitious environmental goals.
Unprecedented waste and recycling laws that cement Australia’s seven national targets for waste by 2030 were passed this week, however an amendment by the Greens to reduce single-use plastics or meet plastic packaging recycling targets wasn’t included.
Northern-Ireland company Kiverco has been chosen to design, build and install a waste recycling plant that will help recycle all construction waste from the The Red Sea Project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Australians want to take care of the environment, both locally and globally. That means preserving remaining natural habitat and reversing climate change. There are few that now quibble with protecting koala habitat or expanding renewables.
Kingston Council has voiced its “deep disappointment” that the Victorian Planning Minister has given an 11th hour approval for a concrete crushing facility to remain in Kingston’s Green Wedge for a further 10 years.
Within the last week China has decreed that it will ban all imports of solid waste from January 1 2021 and told restaurants, e-commerce platforms and delivery companies they have to report their use of single-use plastics and also submit formal recycling plans.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said a nationwide system for retailers was to be established to report their plastic consumption. This will be part of a trial to encourage recycling, which will also mean firms will have to submit formal plans for recycling.
Country’s biggest challenge
Plastic pollution has become one of China’s biggest challenges, with vast amounts buried or dumped. The country produced 63 million tonnes of plastic in 2019, with a recycling rate of around 30 per cent. It produces around 20 million tonnes of single-use non-biodegradable material annually, including 3 million tonnes of shopping bags.
In September, the ministry said single-use plastic bags and eating utensils would be banned from major cities by the end of the year, while single-use straws would be banned nationwide.
Dealing with waste
In January this year, China’s National Development and Reform Commission issued new policy to be implemented over the next five years, setting out how to deal with the waste its 1.4 billion citizens create. The country said it would ‘progressively ban or restrict the production, sales and use’ of certain plastics while endorsing ‘degradable, recycle-friendly alternatives’, according to a document published by the Commission.
The Chinese commission also said the restaurant industry must reduce its use of single-use plastic by 30 per cent, and hotels have been told that they must not offer free single-use plastic items by 2025 – it is thought this will include toiletries. In 2008, China banned retailers from giving out free single-use plastic bags, and banned the production of ultra-thin plastic bags.
In 2017, the country announced that it would ban the import of foreign plastic waste in a move that has meant countries across the world have had to seek out alternative destinations for their waste.
Wang Wang, chairman of the China Scrap Plastic Association, said the bans would “only resolve the most visible types of plastic pollution” and were just one part of the country’s efforts to tackle waste, according to Reuters news agency.
From September, China has also prohibited some types of agricultural-use plastic film used to keep crops warm and moist. Chinese farmers use around 1.5 million tonnes a year, but it leaves residues that damage the soil.
A new “solid waste law” also came into effect in September, raising fines tenfold for those who break rules and mandating the construction of new recycling infrastructure.
As Australia celebrates the opening of State borders this week, a survey reveals that more than half of waste businesses in the UK have found their level of work lower than in 2019 after the impact of the pandemic.
The iugis’ Sustainable Re-set report reveals the nation expects more from governments when it comes to issues like fighting food waste. The study, undertaken by YouGov, surveyed both consumers and small business owners about their attitudes to sustainability and food waste. It revealed the majority (75 per cent of consumers and 64 per cent of SMB owners) are concerned about sustainability and climate change with around a third in each group even more concerned about these issues now than they were before the pandemic.
The Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA has described the proposed Federal legislation for ‘Project Life Greenfields Agreements’, as a crucial industrial relations reform that will create jobs and economic growth by stimulating investment in the resources, energy and infrastructure sectors.