Our policies are designed to create the infrastructure and laws that make recycling and protection of the environment effective and easy for households and businesses. We believe regulatory mechanisms, including bans, new laws, including greater responsibility by the makers of products; and consumer action, are needed to eliminate both toxic practices and waste products from polluting our ecosystems.
Cash For Containers
Efficient and low cost Container Deposit Systems (CDS) involving a 10-cent refund and significant use of automated sorting machines, by individual states with national harmonisation. A CDS has been proven worldwide to maximise the recycling of drink containers and minimise litter.
The removal of plastic bag, foodware and bottles, microplastic and nurdle threats to the environment can only be achieved with comprehensive and rapid regulatory and industry action, including the introduction of bans and alternative products.
Asian markets are rightly rejecting our contaminated recyclate meaning we have a big problem that can only be solved by growing our own reprocessing industry. Otherwise our hard work to recycle will end up in landfill or incinerated. Our key targets are - recycled content rules for packaging and other products to create a demand that justifies investment in new facilities; financial incentives and support; and government/business procurement to buy recycled.
New laws and corporate supply chain practises are needed to stop the illegal stockpiling and dumping of waste tyres; prevent the export of whole tyres to developing nations (where their breakdown causes significant pollution); and improve domestic recycling for new products. Stringent emission controls could facilitate the use of some chipped tyres for domestic energy, to avoid ongoing stockpiling and dumping, and help clean up legacy dumps, but only after maximum recycling.
Waste to Energy (WTE)
WTE is the one-off production of energy by subjecting waste to high temperatures via various technologies. It is not recycling. There is no thermal process to capture the embodied energy value of mixed waste that will not create significant pollution and toxic releases. We also caution against the serious risk of long term WTE contracts cannabalising resources that should be recycled. We may consider, on a case by case basis, use of the small amount of residue from best practice and maximised recycling of single material types, but only that which can demonstrate toxic pollution risks have been eliminated by pre-testing of the material.
Our research indicates that significant waste levies deter landfilling, and when also applied to waste to energy plants, make recycling more competitive by producing a key price signal. The receiver of the waste should carry the levy liability until it is genuinely recycled. The funds raised should be applied to recycling and environment protection programs.
The Queensland government just announced it will “examine what a container deposit scheme (CDS) in the state could look like” and prepare for a public consultation later this year. It also agreed to become an observer to the NSW CDS design process. Given Queensland's growing reputation as the most littered state in Australia, its move is a very necessary step. A 10 cents deposit scheme on bottles and cans would dramatically reduce litter and pollution in the Sunshine state.Read more