I wrote this for Clean Up Australia after this year’s Budget announcement.
Last Tuesday’s Budget, although short on environmental measures, included some good news – an extra $250 million to update Australia’s recycling infrastructure.
Clean energy and recycling were listed as one of six priority areas for manufacturing in the next 10 years. Treasurer Josh Frydenburg framed the measure in terms of creating 10,000 jobs and helping the environment. He said the improved infrastructure would stop more than 600,000 tonnes of waste ending up in landfill. Improved infrastructure would help the industry to sort, process and remanufacture paper, glass, plastics and tyres.
By 2024, the plan is to spend $190 million on the new Recycling Modernisation Fund and $24.6 million to improve waste data and reporting.
Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley called the measure ‘A once in a generation opportunity to remodel waste management, reduce pressure on our environment and create economic opportunity.’
Australian-made recycled products in government infrastructure projects compulsory. ‘All of these actions continue to encourage at best a closed loop system. If we are serious about transitioning Australia to a circular economy, then emphasis must be given to the design of products’, she said.
Josh Frydenberg quoted Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the August 2019 ban on exporting our waste – plastic, paper, tyres and glass – ‘it’s our waste, it’s our responsibility’.
So what can you do to take responsibility and help close the recycling loop?
Clean Up Australia’s National Packaging Targets include to have 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging in use by 2025 and 50% of recycled content included in packaging. To truly close the loop, we need to grow the demand for recycled materials. Take a look at our guide to buying recycled and Step Up by buying recycled.