The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) is urging the Federal Government to heed the findings of the Senate report produced last week by the Environment and Communications References Committee.
The report, “Never waste a crisis: the waste and recycling industry in Australia”, makes no fewer than 18 recommendations, of which the first is that “The committee recommends that the Australian Government prioritise the establishment of a circular economy in which materials are used, collected, recovered, and re-used, including within Australia.”
“WMAA is in full support of prioritising a shift to a Circular Economy and a commitment to the waste hierarchy,” said WMAA CEO, Gayle Sloan. “This report firmly backs the position of WMAA and the entire industry.”
The WMAA has been highlighting the requirement for the Federal Government to set mandatory targets for all government departments on specifying materials bought directly, or via private contractors, to contain recycled content, and this policy is contained within the recommendations of the Senate report.
“Long before China’s National Sword policy made this an economic challenge for Australia, our industry has been saying to government that we need to rethink the way we use recycled commodities in this country and create an industry for those commodities,” said Sloan. “WMAA applauds the Senate report for seeing the opportunity that this presents and recommending the need for the Federal Government to lead and mandate the use of recycled content in government purchasing. Only then will we see a move towards a Circular Economy.”
China’s National Sword policy has affected 1.25Mt of Australia’s recyclables exported to China.
According to Sloan, “We have talked enough about what needs to be done in Australia, we just need to act and take the opportunity that China presented to create remanufacturing jobs in Australia. The Federal Government must finally step up and pull the policy levers we need like mandating recycled content and all Government departments buying recycled goods, and if they are not, tell the public why not, when 91% of the population supports Government doing this.”