Joint Media Release: Real action on waste - with no green washing

20 November 2019

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon Trevor Evans MP, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management

The Australian Government is strongly committed to reducing waste, increasing recycling rates and building capacity in Australia’s waste and recycling industry.

A meeting on waste with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Qld branch) has highlighted the importance of practical recycling initiatives, warning against greenwashing projects that give Australian consumers a false sense of assurance around recycling.

The Morrison Government is working with industry to test the proposed timetable for the banning of waste exports of plastic, paper, tyres and glass, through ongoing consultation with the broader business community, as well as the waste industry.

“Today I was joined by Assistant Minister Trevor Evans and a number of small to medium-sized businesses at the CGIQ headquarters in Brisbane, to identify the issues particular to their sector and the ways we can work together to build a circular economy that is less wasteful and more resourceful,” said Minister Ley.

Everyone accepts achieving these deadlines is going to be a journey rather than an overnight outcome, and the commitment to work together is gathering momentum

Business participants said it was important to identify and develop recycling streams that people could see were delivering real outcomes

“This is in line with the Prime Minister’s statement that Australians want to have faith in their recycling, that their efforts will make a difference to the environment,” said Mr Evans.

An example today was retailers seeking a common national standard to ensure that a reusable plastic bag is genuinely reusable, and that consumers are not buying products thinking they can be recycled when they can’t.

The Australasian Recycling Label is a huge step in the right direction and will soon be carried by more and more products.

A discussion paper on the Coalition’s waste ban timetable and growth opportunities to remanufacture our waste into recycled product has been circulated to industry, and consultation will continue in the lead up to COAG confirming the export phase out:

  • All waste glass by July 2020.
  • Mixed waste plastics by July 2021.
  • All whole tyres including baled tyres by December 2021.
  • Remaining waste products, including mixed paper and cardboard, by no later than 30 June 2022.