2 March 2020
Wildlife Queensland supports a call on the federal government by the Boomerang Alliance and WWF-Australia to use today’s National Plastics Summit to announce it will mandate that 100 per cent of plastic packaging will be reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025.
There should also be a legal requirement that unnecessary and problematic plastics are eliminated by 2025.
While the federal government has already set those targets, they are voluntary.
But the Boomerang Alliance and WWF-Australia say unless they are mandated, plastic pollution will continue to plague the nation.
Plastic enters Australian oceans at a rate of 130,000 tonnes a year and with plastic recycling rates only reaching 9 per cent, the federal and state governments must intervene where the market has failed.
The Boomerang Alliance and WWF-Australia say mandatory packaging targets would transform Australia’s use and recycling of plastic packaging.
Key actions to address Australia’s plastic crisis
The Boomerang Alliance, its 51 allied organisations* and WWF-Australia are calling for five key actions that can dramatically address Australia’s plastic crisis:
- Phase-out problematic and unnecessary plastics. Single-use plastic items are a major and destructive source of ocean plastic pollution due to their small size, low residual value and disposable nature. They are also a waste of resources and contribute to GHG emissions. State and territories should phase-out the most problematic and unnecessary plastics while the Federal Government can provide a leadership and harmonising role to ensure an ambitious and consistent approach.
- Mandate Australia’s National Packaging Targets within the Product Stewardship Act 2011. Stronger regulations on packaging is a pre-requisite for any effective policies to avoid, reduce, reuse or recycle plastics. There will be no effective packaging redesign or resource recovery without comprehensively improved management and mandated, time-bound targets for recovery.
- Immediately address packaging labelling and greenwashing. This can be achieved through:
- Mandating the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) to all product packaging
- Expanding the ARL to include reusable and compostable packaging
- Requiring a condition to use the ARL, that all packaging labelled as reusable, compostable or recyclable is reused, composted or recycled in practice and at scale.
- Implement the promised ban on the export of waste plastics coupled with the provision of Commonwealth and State investment in modernised composting and recycling facilities, and the setting of consistent recycled content procurement policies in all Australian jurisdictions.
- Commit to a target for zero plastic packaging in landfill, incinerators and waste-to-energy facilities by 2025 in all jurisdictions.
*Wildlife Queensland is a member of the Boomerang Alliance.