Greens plan to drive circular economy

Queensland to review waste strategy and levy

The Greens will provide $1 billion for a nationwide scheme to build industrial compostable facilities, as part of a plan to transition to a circular economy by 2030.

The Greens plan, released on Friday, will help avoid waste and work to prevent it ending up in landfill or oceans, while creating thousands of research, manufacturing, waste and recycling jobs.

The plan also includes legislating a national approach to phasing out key single-use plastics by 2025, legislating a national approach to container deposit schemes, support for a Global Plastic Treaty, mandating national packaging targets in law, investing $500 million over five years into infrastructure and programs to reboot recycling and $50 million in waste avoidance and reduction research, a ban on industrial incineration of solid waste and support of the Right to Repair to minimise e-waste.

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens spokesperson for Waste and Recycling, said much of what is currently considered ‘waste’ is a valuable resource disposed of incorrectly, and anything else is a design flaw.

“Recent waste export bans imposed on Australia by foreign countries have forced us to be self-sufficient when managing our waste and recycling, creating a perfect opportunity to revolutionise our nation’s waste and recycling system.

“Governments, industry and communities must come together and build a true circular economy where waste no longer exists because all necessary production has value and stays in a closed-loop system.

“Less than a third of Australians have access to commercial composting for their waste. A flagship component of the Greens plan for a circular economy includes funding $1 billion into a nationwide compostable processing scheme,” Whish-Wilson said.

“Compostable packaging is currently fraught with greenwash and is causing a growing headache for the recycling industry, with much of the goodwill surrounding it literally wasted because Australia lacks necessary education, regulations, collection processes and commercial composting facilities.

“Australia’s leading bioplastics manufacturer lists only 20 facilities around the nation that are about to accept their packaging for commercial composting. These products are often chosen by businesses and consumers as environmentally-friendly take away packaging, but Australians would be shocked to know these products often merely end up as expensive landfill.

“Building industrial compostable facilities is just one of the ways the Greens will reduce waste, create jobs in new industries, and slash emissions in our plan to build a circular economy.

“The Greens have led the policy debate in Parliament and worked closely with the community and the recycling industry to take our waste crisis over many years – and we won’t be taking a backward step in the 47th Parliament.”

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