AWRE 2023 set to provide a wake-up call for Australia

Posted on May 17, 2023 by DrRossH in Plastic Recycling


Despite the urgency for change in Australia’s resource recovery system, the 2022 National Waste Report showed that the nation is moving backwards. 

The national waste plan aims to reduce the total waste generated by 10 per cent per person by 2030, however Australia’s waste production has increased by 2.48 tonnes per person, according to the report.

She says that given Australia hasn’t delivered the systems-wide change that is needed to achieve the resource recovery targets or move more closely towards them, it would’ve been against-the-odds for the numbers to be moving forward.

To progress, she says four key challenges need to be addressed. 

“The first is a regulatory environment. Our environmental protection regulation is not aligned with circular economy outcomes. There is an over emphasis on managing pollution or risk and a lack of balance and emphasis in industry development,” Suzanne says. 

“Second is end markets. Recycling is a system. The system is comprised of three things: collection, processing, and markets. If one of those things doesn’t work, the whole system doesn’t work. We absolutely need to be able to collect and aggregate in a scaled way, the type of infrastructure that can source, reprocess, and remanufacture is also needed. Without end markets, recycling can’t work.

“The next priority that needs progress to move resource recovery forward is product stewardship. It’s a real responsibility by producers over what they put into the supply chain, what we end up with and what we’re able to recover and recycle.”

Suzanne says the right behaviours in the community are also needed for progress. The fourth priority is the need for businesses and individuals who recycle correctly. 

“As soon as you put the wrong waste in the wrong bins, you end up with contamination for the recycling sector,” she says. “The material doesn’t go where it needs to and does not get recycled. So, recycling right is a priority.”

It would be great if all the above could happen and we stop making waste.