Future of Recycling
On 1 January 2018, China implemented new policies banning the import of some foreign waste and imposed stricter controls on recycled materials they do accept. They will now only accept material with a contamination rate of 0.5% or less, the previously accepted rate was 5-10%.
Australia had been exporting about 600,000 tonnes of waste each year to China, where it was processed and reused. The stricter controls in China now forces Australia to find alternative ways to deal with our recycling waste.
There have been reports that without the Chinese recycling export option, recyclable waste is being stockpiled by local council recycling service providers and, in the short term, some of this unprocessed recycling may end up in landfill. Amidst all the reports, on 28 March 2018 the City of Boroondara said they have no plans to stop recycling and instead they encourage all residents to continue kerbside recycling.
Dealing with the waste and recycling issue on 27 April 2018 the federal, state and territory environment ministers agreed to cut Australia's supply of waste, increase recycling capability and increase demand for recyclable product. According to Kooyong MP and Federal Minister for Energy and Environment the Hon Josh Frydenberg, the ministers set the target that “100 per cent of Australian packaging (will) be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025”.
The ministers will also bring forward the review of Australia’s National Waste Policy to be completed within a year.
While the ministers’ approaches have not given an immediate solution as to how service providers are going to deal with recycling waste, we can all work on reducing contamination of our recycling.
Good recycling habits can make a big difference, particularly rinsing out materials before putting them into the recycling bin and placing materials loosely in bins - not in plastic bags. Plastic bags are soft plastics and are not accepted in kerbside recycling.
We must ensure we areaware of all products that can and cannot go into recycle bins. For refreshers and tips on recycling inthe area Google search Boroondara:
Lets Keep Recycling.