Boomerang’s Director, Jeff Angel attended the National Plastic Summit recently and reports some momentum on action was evident, but current commitments are unlikely to be enough. We advocated 5 core actions:
Phase-out problematic and unnecessary plastics. State and territories are moving towards ban laws but the Federal Government appears to be shying away from joining in with enforceable actions on business.
Mandate Australia’s National Packaging Targets within the Product Stewardship Act 2011. Stronger regulations on packaging is a pre-requisite for any effective policies to avoid, reduce, reuse or recycle plastics. The NSW government is supportive but the Commonwealth is not so keen, instead relying on voluntary action.
Immediately address packaging labelling and greenwashing, through:
- Mandating the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) to all product packaging
- Expanding the ARL to include reusable and compostable packaging
- Requiring a condition to use the ARL, that all packaging labelled as reusable, compostable or recyclable is reused, composted or recycled in practice and at scale.
Labelling is not of much use, if at the end of the collection phase, recycling does not occur. We await greater commitment from business and governments.
Implement the promised ban on the export of waste plastics coupled with the provision of Commonwealth and State investment in modernised composting and recycling facilities, and the setting of consistent recycled content procurement policies in all Australian jurisdictions.
Some progress here with a deadline set for the ban (June 2022) and significant funds being made available for new and expanded factories.
- Commit to a target for zero plastic packaging in landfill, incinerators and waste-to-energy facilities by 2025 in all jurisdictions. No action here – and there is a big push for incineration which is NOT part of the circular economy. Victoria recently capped it at 1million tonnes a year. NSW may weaken its current waste to energy rules.