On August 27, 2020, Sussan Ley, Minister for the Environment, introduced the Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020 into Parliament House. This bill passed the House of Representatives on October 28 and was introduced to the Senate on November 9.
This bill is a positive measure towards the achievement of Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and the goal’s associated targets.
In March this year, the Commonwealth, state and territory governments all agreed upon an export ban on waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres. This bill implements this ban and works towards a more economically and environmentally sustainable future.
The timeline for the rollout of this ban is as follows:
1 January 2021 — waste glass export ban
1 July 2021 — mixed plastics export ban
1 December 2021 — whole used tyres export ban
1 July 2022 — single resin or polymer plastics export ban
1 July 2024 — mixed and unsorted paper and cardboard export ban
It is important to note that this ban only applies to unprocessed waste. Australian companies wanting to process waste materials into a new material that can be used for manufacturing overseas will be able to do so upon applying for a license.
The bill also incorporates the current Product Stewardship Act 2011, along with additional recommendations and improvements. These additional recommendations and improvements aim to encourage organisations, including large companies, to become more responsible for the waste they generate. This includes through improved design of products and packaging including through improved recyclability of materials and more comprehensive education of stakeholders around recycling.
Accredited voluntary product stewardship schemes will be set up for organisations to take part in to improve accountability in industries across the Australian economy.
The government will also make an annual statement on Parliament on recycling and waste reduction.
There are a number of measures to be introduced that will complement and support this bill once it has passed the Senate and has been made and Act of Parliament by the Governor-General.
These include the following:
$190 million for a new Recycling Modernisation Fund.
$20 million for the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund
$35 million to implement Commonwealth commitments under Australia’s National Waste Policy Action Plan
$24.6 million for Commonwealth commitments to improve our national waste data
$20 million through a special round of the cooperative research centres projects
At Global Goals Australia, we are excited to see this bill pass through the Senate and become legislation to make significant progress on our nation’s advancement towards the achievement of Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.