The Recycling Revolution is a Shared Responsibility

Media release

11 October 2019

The Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans MP, today encouraged all Australians to make recycling part of their way of doing business and a bigger part of their everyday life.

“All Australians – consumers, families, small business, industry, academia and all levels of government – have a role to play on this journey, to join the recycling revolution as Australia moves towards a more circular economy,” said Mr Evans.

“Creating a more circular economy in Australia is a shared responsibility – and that’s why we’ve been encouraged by the strong response of both industry and state, territory, and local governments to the challenge that we have in front of us”.

Early next month, led by the Environment Minister Sussan Ley, all of Australia’s Environment Ministers will meet in Adelaide to decide on a timetable to ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres. It’s hoped this ban can start to be implemented from as early as next year.

“The days of Australia sending our recyclable waste to other countries for reprocessing are over. Instead, we will build the capacity of Australia’s domestic recycling industry, so that we can do it ourselves. This is a huge opportunity for Australia to seize.

“In the longer-term, instead of exporting our paper and plastic waste, we want to see Australia exporting our Australian technology and our recycling know-how – to help other countries, especially those in our region here in the south-west Pacific, to better manage their waste, thereby helping to tackle the global problem of waste and pollution.

“This can not only help grow a multi-billion dollar industry in Australia, and create the jobs that we want to see right across this country, but will also help to improve the environment across the planet in practical and meaningful ways. It’s a clear example of where good policy for the environment is also good economics, it’s a win-win,” said Mr Evans.

“With government, industry and communities working together to boost recycling, there is a tremendous opportunity to create a more sustainable future for Australia,” said Mr Evans.

Mr Evans was in Melbourne to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding agreement between the Holland Circular Hotspot and Planet Ark’s Australian Circular Economy Hub, which was created in fulfilment of a Morrison Government election commitment to create a new online tool to boost recycling.

“The Circular Economy Hub will create an online marketplace to match buyers and sellers of waste resources – like an eBay for waste resources,” said Mr Evans. “Having healthy markets for recycled goods and commodities avoids stockpiles of materials just growing and growing, which could then become a problem in itself”.

Today’s agreement will form the basis for future cooperation and sharing of knowledge between Australia and the Netherlands about best-practices on the circular economy, sharing technology, research and science, and sharing practical insights about how we can achieve a commercially-led transition to a more circular economy – here in Australia, in the Netherlands and around the world.

The Morrison Government is implementing a $167 million Australian Recycling Investment Plan to grow and strengthen Australia’s recycling industry, and to support industry and community initiatives to lift recycling rates in Australia, as we move towards a more circular economy.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management