The Queensland Government has released its discussion paper on “Transforming Queensland’s recycling and waste industry” outlining its new resource recovery, recycling and waste management strategy.
The report acknowledges that “Queensland is a major under performer in resource recovery by both national and international standards” and also comes in the wake of Ipswich City Council admitting that it was on the verge of putting stockpiles of recyclable material in to landfill following the Chinese import ban on poorly sorted and contaminated plastics.
It does, however, highlight some of its latest initiatives, including the impending introduction of a ban on the supply of single-use plastic shopping bags from the 1st July 2018 and the introduction of a container refund scheme on the 1st November 2018.
One of the main measures will be the imposition of a waste disposal levy, bringing Queensland into line with the other states, and effectively shutting the door on interstate dumpers seeking free landfill. This will be enacted early in 2019.
The concept of a landfill levy has been something of a political football in Queensland. The previous levy, which was enacted in 2011, was repealed in 2012.
The new policy and the confirmation of the reintroduction of the landfill levy has drawn broad support from the waste management industry, with the Waste Management Association of Australia pointing out that the Queensland Government is providing the opportunity for a robust and dynamic resource recovery industry to develop in the next five years.
“The ultimate goal of WMAA is to achieve sustainable and environmentally sensitive waste management across the entire industry,” said CEO Gayle Sloan. “And to ensure a level playing field for all organisations, and for the betterment of the services provided to the public.”
For Queensland, the goal is clear: the discussion paper points to the state progressively moving toward a circular economy to realise resource recovery opportunities and grow recycling sector investment and jobs.