After the China National Sword import restriction on Australian recyclables, the return of container loads of recyclables, the massive success of “War on Waste”, the 60 Minutes “expose” of waste management activities and a Four Corners documentary, waste is finally attracting attention (not all of it good). This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced. And change has road bumps, but we're getting there.". We produce a lot of plastic waste, for one thing, and we've yet to develop large, sustainable markets in Australia for recycled plastic products. The PM wants that to stop, Rate of plastic pollution is predicted to double by 2030. The Australian Commonwealth has achieved a first – a Minister for Waste (and Environmental Management) was announced by the Morrison government. The Industry Association for Organics Recycling in Australia. The industry has done well in capturing much of the methane but not enough. The increased profile will only be a positive if it generates rapid action and policy reform. All good. It has always been cheaper and more efficient for the Asian business at the end of the transaction to do it (more automated processing at plastic and fibre mills, cheaper labour, etc). In other words, the value of metal and fibre outweighs the costs of collecting and reprocessing it. The most up-to-date stats show Australians generated 67 million tonnes of waste in 2016-2017. The waste sector contributes 2.7 per cent of Australia’s total emissions. Other priority infrastructure includes glass sand manufacturing (from bottles), plastic reprocessing (in response to China see below), dirt reprocessing, consolidated well run landfills, community recycling centres and EfW facilities. Googong now recycles 60 per cent of its water — why can't Canberra do the same? "This is a really big change. Only governments can remedy market failures. "We have way too much of a view that it's just waste and you just throw it out," says Gayle Sloan, the CEO of the Waste Management Association of Australia. Mandatory EPR schemes for tyres, white goods, mattresses, old cars, oil, e-waste (computers and TV’s are already being done), solar panels, single use batteries, gas bottles, smoke alarms, and other items, would do a lot to reduce illegal dumping and reduce the free-riding which plagues current voluntary schemes. Recycling in Australia is a widespread but not comprehensive part of waste management in Australia. She says a big part of that is the fact that waste companies have "designed their services to be almost invisible". Recycling in Australia Last updated December 20, 2019. Of the 21MT that is currently landfilled, more than 10MT is organics (food, garden waste, pallets, timber etc). But what that means in practice is waste activities are either being prohibited or pushed further and further away from waste generators (to the city outskirts) increasing traffic and heavy truck movements. A recycling truck in Canberra, 2007 Yellow-lidded recycling bin, green-lidded greenwaste bin, and red-lidded general waste bin for a household in Wagga Wagga. The current landfill levies around Australia raise more than $1.2 billion per year. The highest priorities are organics processing (composting and anaerobic digestion below), mixed commercial waste sorting facilities and mixed demolition sorting facilities. Therefore, we need to get to the point where we accept some short term pain in order to reduce Australia’s emissions and to contribute meaningfully to international efforts. Avoided landfill emissions by diverting waste containing degradable organic carbon; Save energy by recycling the embodied energy of paper, cardboard, glass, steel and aluminium; Use EfW to displace fossil fuels and avoid emissions; Convert suitable waste to biochar and apply to land (carbon capture and storage); and. It's more of a problem with kerbside recycling, as business and construction often get charged more if their waste isn't up to scratch. And it's estimated about 130,000 tonnes of Australian plastic ends up in waterways and oceans each year. But Ms Downes says not to get too disheartened by the current state of the recycling crisis. But it is a big challenge for Australia’s existing recycling infrastructure – primarily Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs). NSW’s recently released 2018 State of the Environment Report uses data that only goes up to 2015 and still excludes recycling data. We have covered in previous blogs (why recycling is a waste of time!) A sampling of the contents of the recycling bin in Victoria shows around 10% of the material should not have been disposed of by bin. The best solution is to keep the organics out of landfill and instead turn it into compost and return it to farmers. Why keep importing it from the West when China can clean up its own environment by recycling locally generated materials? Paid by homeowners, businesses and the community generally to improve recycling and resource recovery. Charities have been recycling clothing and household goods … All governments should follow suit with even more ambitious targets. – how recycling is not a fit all solution to our consumer and throw way culture. Single companies can’t do it. "They've tried to make it as simple and convenient for householders so that you put your waste in the bin, and it disappears. If we want more and better recycling then not only do we need the policy incentives for companies and councils to invest in it, but we need them to be able to get bits of infrastructure approved and built. Only about 2 per cent of our waste is converted to energy, a much lower rate than some European countries. From a I would argue that fostering a circular economy is so important that it would be worth forming a Circular Economy Commission (akin to the Productivity Commission) that would look to untangle the thicket of obstacles that prevent the market from delivering on the benefits of a circular economy. We should also push for benchmarking across the board, especially for local government. A circular economy goes beyond improving recycling; it aims to close the loop by influencing not just end of pipe recycling but also design, logistics and the entire value chain. This story was contributed by Mike Ritchie – the director of MRA Consulting Group. 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