Australia urgently needs a national plan to tackle the soft plastics crisis and the Boomerang Alliance is releasing its proposed product stewardship scheme to mandate action by producers and supermarkets.
Australia's packaging targets must be met by the agreed date of 2025. We have set out a three-year plan that gets action on:
- redesign of packaging, including reducing plastic and using alternative materials;
- a collection system available to all households based on special kerbside collections;
- new sorting technology at receiving facilities; and
- importantly, commitments to use the material as recycled content in new packaging and other products.
Key to this is the federal government regulating the industry under Commonwealth Product Stewardship Act. We have no confidence that the current taskforce comprised of the big supermarkets can move substantially at a sufficient pace to avoid hundreds of millions more tonnes of soft plastics being landfilled or littered. We commend the federal Environment Minister for threatening to regulate, but frankly the packaging sector ran out of time years ago and the REDcycle catastrophe was the nail in the coffin of more voluntary efforts.
Under the Plan, the producers and supermarkets would cover the costs, like with the current e-waste and container refund schemes. Financial support under the federal/state/business Recycling Modernisation Fund would continue.
The Boomerang Alliance have provided the Plan to all environment ministers and look forward to their quick response by committing to work together on national regulation or key states like NSW and Victoria acting unilaterally.