Richard Kirkman: Why the waste sector needs a reset – Australia

Posted on June 20, 2023 by DrRossH in Plastic Recycling

By Richard Kirkman Three years ago, I landed on these shores fresh from working for the utilities sector in Northern Europe.

Source: Richard Kirkman: Why the waste sector needs a reset – Inside Waste

Despite these voices of reason it’s hard to believe we are talking about collecting soft plastics through kerbside recycling when the material is mostly unrecyclable.  I would go further to say that soft plastics are such an important and vital ingredient to putting low-carbon fresh food on the table, at reasonable cost. So, we must find a middle ground.

I fully advocate for packaging to be created with circularity in mind. But where it can’t be avoided and serves a fundamental purpose for society, we should be less obsessed about recyclability and consider its use as an energy source replacing dirty coal and natural gas – something embraced by Europe’s energy sector.  We should still recycle as much of the recyclable grades we can – that makes good sense – but for complex multi-layer materials that protect meat or fresh products, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water and move to less sustainable high carbon materials.  Coupled with the challenging compostable packaging movement, soft plastics in the recycling bin threaten to become a perfect storm to destroy the chance of 80 per cent recovery by 2030.