Recycling for a cleaner environment and economic growth

The Hon Trevor Evans MP

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management

Joint Media Release

10 November 2019

Australians are being urged to brush up on their recycling habits this National Recycling Week (Nov 11-17), with Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley and the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans highlighting the importance of a circular economy for our environment.

Australia generates the equivalent of around three tonnes of waste per person each year, nearly half of which finds its way into landfills, our oceans and rivers or is sent overseas.

That is why at the Meeting of Environment Ministers last week, all of Australian Environment Ministers agreed it is time for us to take care of our own waste.  We’ve established a clear timetable to progressively ban the export of all waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres by July 2022, starting from next year.

As well as helping the environment, every 10,000 tonnes of waste that we recycle will help our economy by creating 9.2 Australian jobs.

Environment ministers also committed to a new National Action Plan on waste.  It includes ambitious targets to make Australia a world leader in waste management and recycling, like:

  • significantly increasing the use of recycled content by governments and industry
  • recovering 80 per cent of all waste streams
  • phasing out problematic and unnecessary plastics
  • halving the amount of organic waste sent to landfill
  • reducing the total waste generated in Australia by 10 per cent per person.

These commitments are a game changer for our recycling industry and for all consumers. 

They will encourage innovation in how we design, make, and use plastics and packaging, and how we turn waste into valuable new products or fuels. And they will create many new jobs in waste processing and remanufacturing.

The Australian Government knows Australians care deeply about the environment; Australians want to be confident that when they put their recycling bin out on the kerb everything in it will be collected and recycled.

That is why the Government has committed to a $167 million Australian Recycling Investment Plan to increase Australia’s recycling rates, tackle plastic waste and litter, accelerate work on new recycling schemes, and continue action to halve food waste by 2030.

Australia is also leading practical research and innovation in recycling. We are turning recycled plastic and glass into roads, manufacturing 100 per cent recycled plastic drink bottles and capturing methane and waste to create energy to power our factories and homes.

Eventually, we want to see Australia exporting our recycling know-how and technology – to help other countries manage their waste. Good policy for the environment is also good economics, it’s a win-win.

The Australian Government welcomes the contributions and leadership from business, state governments and local communities to address Australia’s waste and recycling challenges. Together we can respond to and benefit from the waste and recycling challenge and secure an even cleaner, greener Australia.

Planet Ark's National Recycling Week (Monday 11 to Sunday 17 November 2019) is the annual opportunity for councils, workplaces, schools and individuals to find new ways to reduce waste and improve recycling know how.

For further information on National Recycling Week see https://recyclingnearyou.com.au/nationalrecyclingweek/about

Minister for the Environment