Australia’s waste is up, recycling down in latest accounts

Published on Thu 19 November 2020 3:14pm

This month’s data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Waste Account shows that Australia’s waste and recycling performance has worsened at a time when the Morrison Government claims to be showing national and global leadership.

Since 2016-17, Australia’s recycling rate for plastics has dropped from an already unacceptably low 12 per cent to 9 per cent. Total waste has risen 10 per cent from 68 million tonnes p.a. to a record 76 million tonnes, while hazardous waste climbed by a worrying 23 per cent.

This flies in the face of the National Waste Policy targets of reducing overall waste by 10 per cent by 2030 and achieving a rate of 80 per cent average resource recovery from all waste streams by 2030. It completely contradicts the government’s claims about taking action on waste and recycling.

These accounts are further proof that the Morrison Government is always there for the photo op, but never there for the follow up.  

At present, the vast majority – 84 per cent, or 2.1 million tonnes – of Australia’s plastic waste is sent to landfill each year. The Liberal National Government is in its third-term and seventh year and has categorically failed to make even slight improvements to the rate of plastic recycling.

The Morrison Government loves making announcements, but never delivers.

The Liberal Nationals have failed to deliver a single dollar from its centrepiece $100m Recycling Investment Fund, announced back in May 2019, and has missed the opportunity to improve producer responsibility in its light-touch approach to reforming Australia’s Product Stewardship framework.

Over the past 18 months the Morrison Government has littered the country with announcements, promises, and big claims when it comes to reducing waste and improving recycling, but the numbers don’t lie, and waste and recycling is worse on their watch.

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