Plastic recycling is getting worse according to a report issued by the Australian Packaging Covenant this week.
More than two years after telling the world that Australia would be a leader in reducing plastic waste, the latest evidence show that our performance has gone from bad to worse.
The Australian Packaging Covenant Collective Impact report makes clear that Australia has gone backwards on both the recycling of plastic packaging and the level of recycled content incorporated in such packaging.
Plastic makes up 84 per cent of the rubbish found on Australian beaches and yet the rate of recycling for plastic packaging has slipped from an already dismally low 18 per cent to 16 per cent – miles and miles away from the 2025 target of 70 per cent set by the Morrison Government three years ago.
To improve the rate of recycling and move towards a circular economy we need to see recycled material incorporated in new packaging. The Australian Packaging Covenant’s target is to achieve 20 per cent by 2025, yet this report shows Australia has dropped from four to three per cent over the past year. In real terms this means 84 per cent of the 1.1 million tonnes of plastic packaging in the market in 2019-20 went to landfill.
Coming from a very low base of plastic recycling, it’s hard to fathom how the Government has managed to deliver this slump.
Labor’s concerns are mirrored by a range of peak waste and recycling groups including the Boomerang Alliance who in response to the report has said:
Government needs to step in to stop the waste, protect the environment and get the packaging industry on the path to quick results.
The release of this report comes just 12 months on from the Morrison-Joyce Government’s promise to modernise regulations aimed at improving Australia’s very poor performance when it comes to the recyclability of plastic packaging.
Determined to distract from his government’s disgraceful record on climate change and the environment, Scott Morrison has spent the last three years claiming to lead the way when it comes to plastic pollution. Sadly, the Australian public is getting used to untruth and incompetence from this Government.
Labor is calling on the Government to explain whether it has any plans to get Australia’s national recycling targets on track.