New federal legislation urges Australian business to reduce, re-use and recycle

The Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020 sets forth a national framework for managing waste and recycling across Australia, ‘now and into the future’.

The proposed new legislation will phase in the nationwide ban on exporting 645,000-odd tonnes per annum of unprocessed plastic, paper, glass and tyres agreed upon by Australia’s major political parties in March.

It extends the existing Product Stewardship Act 2011 to task organisations with greater environmental responsibility for reducing and repurposing their waste, such as through improved product design and increased ‘recovery and reuse of waste materials’.

“This is about tackling a national environmental issue that has been buried in landfill or shipped offshore for far too long,” Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Sussan Ley said.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to remodel waste management, reduce pressure on our environment and create economic opportunity as we move to a circular economy with a strong market for recycled materials.

“Our $190 million Recycling Modernisation Fund and our actions under the National Waste Policy Action Plan will create 10,000 new jobs over the next 10 years – that is a 32 per cent increase in jobs in the Australian waste and recycling sector.

“We are introducing legislation; we are driving a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity and we are investing in new technologies and new ideas to transform recycling and reprocessing.”

Australian Food and Grocery Council Acting CEO Dr Geoffrey Annison welcomed the new Bill as “a significant leap in the right direction to reduce waste and increase access to high-quality packaging with high levels of recycled content for Australia’s manufacturers”.

Over the next two decades, the ban on exporting waste is expected to generate $1.5 billion in additional economic activity across Australia.

Sources

Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020 I Australian Government Department of Environment

Landmark legislation for Australia’s waste (27 August 2020) I Joint media release: The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment, and The Hon Trevor Evans MP, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management