ALGA, the state and territory local governments and a large number of councils were involved in a consultation process earlier this year on the proposed ban on the export of waste paper, plastic, glass and tyres. Last week the Council of Australian Governments agreed to the phased introduction of the export ban.
From 1 July 2020, unprocessed glass, in a whole or broken state will no longer be able to be exported. A year later mixed plastics that are not of a single polymer or resin type and/or require processing before use in re-manufacturing will be banned (in July) as will whole and baled tyres (in December). In July 2022 non reprocessed single resin/polymer plastics will be banned and finally in July 2024 mixed and unsorted paper and cardboard will be banned.
Following extensive advocacy ALGA were pleased that the Government has made a commitment to drive market demand for recylates through a new Commonwealth procurement policy and also invest in infrastructure to support the export ban.
We have been informed that the outcomes of the Product Stewardship Act review should be made public soon. Amending this Act and stronger product stewardship schemes are critical to helping Australia manage the waste crisis.
Local governments need to continue to do our part by procuring material containing recyclates. We also need to be vigilant about any unintended consequence of the waste ban including stockpiling and increases in landfilling to ensure action to rectify these issues is swift.