Boomerang Alliance Newsletter - September 2019

September 2019

Last week I met the new (federal) Assistant Minister for Waste Minimisation, Trevor Evans along with industry reps to discuss the ban announced by the PM on the export of plastic, glass, tyres and paper.  There's no doubt this is a major policy redirection from the inadequate and time wasting institutional responses seen so far and is the first time waste and recycling have come to the fore for heads of government. 

We and most of industry are on the same page pushing for - recycled content rules; robust product stewardship for packaging; new investment in local reprocessing; and a ban on single use plastics.  There's still disagreement about waste incineration.  Nevertheless, the potential for state/federal agreement with a meeting of minds amongst active state and federal environment ministers is significant.  Undoubtedly we have a crisis that requires bold and concrete responses.  During the meeting the Minister assured me that they wanted to announce a date for the ban to take effect (possibly legislated) and that meant there must be for the various exported wastes causing pollution and damage overseas, a viable domestic recycling market. 

South Australia is leading the way building on its already impressive recycling record with a phase out of single use plastics planned for next year.  They are also working with Boomerang Alliance on retail precincts to help businesses adjust to new compostable products or reusables. 

This is in stark contrast to Victoria which appears set on a landfill/incineration path as it confronts a crisis of its own making - failed regulatory and policy responses that allowed dangerous stockpiles to develop and kerbside recyclate being sent to landfill. And of course that state continues to resist container deposits, even though a CDS will financially support kerbside and deliver clean, high value glass, metal and plastic for new products.   

Australia's environment ministers will be meeting in early November to agree on an action plan.  There have been false dawns before, but this time there is cause for optimism.  We will be working hard to make sure this is not an opportunity lost.

Check out our recommendations to ministers here


Jeff Angel



Recycling is not just putting materials into the yellow bin – we need to create demand for products made out of those materials otherwise recycling doesn’t work and Councils are faced with stockpiles of materials with no markets. Nobody likes to hear about recyclables going to landfill!


There is robust evidence that waste to energy (WtE) plants will harm future recycling and is likely to produce dangerous air pollution. Mixed waste incinerators are far more complex and dangerous that the more-simple WtE types such as those that use homogenous sources (eg bagass) or anaerobic digestion.


We aren’t sure what will wake Victoria up from its comatose reluctance to agree to a container deposit scheme – but we won’t stop trying. We are planning more local actions – eventually the Victorian government will see the wisdom in introducing cash for containers. 


Our Plastic Free Places (PFP) program is gathering momentum with the commencement of our fourth community project in Adelaide in August, adding to our work in Noosa, Byron and Perth - with more to come.


Boomerang Alliance has welcomed the introduction of the Product Stewardship Amendment (Packaging and Plastics) Bill 2019 by the Australian Greens as an important contribution to solving the nation’s plastic recycling crisis and reducing plastic pollution. It is now subject to a Senate Inquiry.

Stop Plastic Pollution from Learner & Provisional Driver Plates

Plastic "L" (Learner) and "P" (Provisional) driver plates can often be seen in NSW on the roadside and in the gutters as they too easily fall off cars. Boomerang is calling on the government to change the requirement for Learner and Provisional plates to only be on the exterior of the the vehicle and to stop distributing low quality plastic plates as many of them end up on the roads only to be washed down the stormwater drains, becoming plastic pollution. ACT only specifies the colour and size; Queensland offers a downloadable template; and SA sells 'see-through plates' for inside the car window.

We would not have been able to do all these works without our supporters. Please donate so we can continue our fight against plastic pollution.