The NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 has ambitious targets to achieve an 80% average recovery rate from all waste streams, triple the plastics recycling rate and halve the amount of organic waste sent to landfill by 2030.
Australia generates 316,000 tonnes of HDPE plastic per year. Most is landfilled. If every MGB in Australia was required to be black, that alone would absorb 258,000 t of HDPE by adding 10.4kg of recycled content to every MGB at every home.
The NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041: (Stage 1 – 2021-2027) has endorsed diversion of organic waste from landfill to deliver substantive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from NSW landfills.
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.