Recycling Plan For Australia: Is Australia Putting Together A Waste Strategy
In recent weeks we have seen some really positive steps as regards recycling plan improvements in Australia such as Coles and Woolworths ending the usage of single use plastic bags in their stores. Initiative such as this will have a very large and visible impact very soon.
With consumer groups as well as major corporates finally making moves to reduce their environmental impact – we ask has any progress been made on a sensible national recycling plan for Australia?
In a previous blog – we covered how important it is that we come up with a sensible national plan to reduce waste and recycle here in Australia – but a plan of that magnitude will need to be central to the way we govern and run this country.
Waster helps small and medium Aussie companies boost their recycling performance and reduce costs for waste management. See our blog on how a waste broker can help larger companies.
We take the hard work out of recycling – by providing all your bin options and required services on flexible 30 day agreements – with no hidden costs.
Companies can not boost their recycling and clearly see the money they will save each month:
The problem needs a government solution and national recycling plan
We have covered in previous blogs how the problem facing the Australian waste management and recycling is bigger than just one that requires small fixes.
The problem is primarily due to the low level of manufacturing in Australia. As Australia imports the vast majority of products from offshore – it is clear that the manufacturing of those products also happens offshore.
The issue for Australia is that we need a recycling plan that will make it financially viable to recycle in Australia – and that will require offtakers of the recycled product in this country.
No matter what the waste and recycling industry says – they can not create a large scale industrial base and manufacturing industry in this country.
To solve our recycling crisis – we have two options – either really reduce the amount of waste we produce or find a viable recycling solution.
What recycling solutions can there be?
Any viable solution needs to take huge amounts of recyclable commodities – many of which are low quality and contaminated – hence the China ban.
I list a couple of solutions below:
Incineration: This is basically the burning of waste to produce electricity. I would suggest that this will become a part of any future solution.
Subsidisation of waste and recycling exports: If we recycle in this country we will likely need to pay to export it – as there is already sufficient recycling occurring in China. I am not sure if this solution is politically feasable.
Promotion of domestic industry: I believe this plan is unlikely due to the long term decline of industry in Australia. A complete sea change in manufacturing trends would be required – and likely a large government role in the economy that is politically unfeasable.
The final option is to use recycling products in large scale building programmes such as roads and housing. This has the potential to use up the vast majority of glass, plastic etc that is being stockpiled.
The ABC recently reported that the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has promoted road building:
“Local road funding makes up more than 40 per cent of federal grants to local governments.”
“The ALGA has predicted a massive boost to the domestic waste industry if more roads were built from recycled materials.”
“A record number of councils have sent delegates to the ALGA conference in Canberra to lobby for increased funding.”
This recycling plan would require government legislation to ensure that Australian recycling product is used in any major project.
This problem will not go away and really is only beginning.
We want the benefits of recycling – but are we prepared to actually find a solution.
Failing to plan will really be planning to fail!