Federal Environment Minister Susan Ley supports standardised waste collection systems, including a common bin lid colour across Australia. We propose to also standardise the colour of the bin's body to maximise recycled plastic use.
Australians want to take care of the environment. We have set a national resource recovery target of 80% by 2030. How do we achieve these goals?
Well, we cannot go wrong with a nationwide landfill levy.
Waste is ‘waste’ by definition of the fact it is discarded. The generator has to pay someone to get rid of it.
Ιt will only become a ‘resource’ when it is separated, sorted, cleaned-up and is available as an input to another process.
Landfill levies may be blunt instruments but they have also shown their effectiveness in Australia.
Waste generators have a binary decision to make. Recycle or landfill. More often than not, it comes down to price.
To meet our 80% diversion from landfill target, we need to make the answer to that question simple and ever present.
Waste is like a river that flows downhill to the cheapest price. Landfills are like big vacuum cleaners - they suck up waste and resources indiscriminately. If we continue to supply cheaply priced landfills, then that is where our waste will go.
There will always be a place for well-run landfills. But if we want to create a circular economy, then the first and most obvious thing we need to do, is stop the one-way flow into landfills.
The waste and recycling industry contributes close to 3% of Australia’s direct emissions. However, recycling abates much more by capturing the embodied energy of the recovered materials.
We can create a more sustainable Australia by reducing emissions, increasing recycling and growing new green jobs.
For every job in landfill we create 3 jobs in recycling. For every 10,000t of waste we landfill we generate 3 landfill jobs vs 9.2 recycling jobs. Mike Ritchie explains how recycling can help grow regional jobs.
Australian landfill levies are on the move, with significant changes in Queensland and South Australia. The trouble with waste disposal, however, is that it tends to flow to the point of cheapest disposal. Just like water, waste flows downhill to the lowest point.