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Plastics hearing reveals decades of flawed recycling policy

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 29 Jul 2020

Witnesses today outlined their frustration with decades-long recycling policy failure in today’s hearing into the Packaging and Plastics Bill 2019.
Greens Waste and Recycling spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, tabled the bill last year where it was referred to an inquiry. This is the first hearing for the inquiry.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “What we’ve heard loud and clear this morning  is that we need substantial action in tackling the recycling crisis in line with what we see from governments overseas.

"This is coming from the waste and recycling industry bodies themselves, from experts and representatives of community beach clean-ups.
“We’ve had the announcement of promising schemes and summits, but these stakeholders remain skeptical that it isn't just more talk without tangible outcomes.
“They’ve had years of promises for future reform, they’ve had promises of targets that aren’t being met, policies without the data to back them up and no accountability.

"None of it is working.
“We also heard from experts who threw out the idea that this is a problem to be solved by consumers, or simply left to individuals.

“It should not and cannot be up to people gathering garbage bags full of plastics on the beach to solve the problem.
“And it shouldn’t be up to someone spending the whole day in the supermarket to find recycled packaging options, as one witness pointed out.
“It needs to be stopped at the source, at a Federal level, with a law that applies across the country and that has teeth.

“There is broad-based support for this bill which would set mandatory packaging targets, container deposit schemes across the country, and a ban on a range of single-use plastics.
“A circular economy just makes good financial sense.
“What we get as a result, as outlined by these witnesses, are jobs; we get the opportunity for home-grown manufacturing; we get a whole new efficient resource market and revenue stream; we get innovation; and we get plastics out of our environment.
“The recycling crisis requires bold action.
“I look forward to seeing the committee report for the inquiry, and to tabling this bill for final debate."


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