Media Release Plastic Pollution

Ocean conservation group welcomes Greens waste & recycling policy

January 28, 2022

Ocean conservationists have welcomed the Greens’ Creating a Circular Economy national policy initiative, describing it as a sound, evidence-based approach to stopping the flow of plastic pollution into Australia’s waterways and oceans.

Among other initiatives, the Greens policy includes $1 billion for a nationwide compostable processing scheme, an additional $500 million to reboot recycling, and $50 million for waste avoidance through a Plastics Cooperative Research Centre or other means.

Their policy also includes a regulatory approach to plastic reduction, with commitments to legislate plastic packaging reduction targets, as well as a national approach to single-use plastic bans and container deposit schemes.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) described the policy as a sensible approach to reforming Australia’s broken waste management systems.

“Australia’s recycling systems have buckled under the strain, with projections showing that by 2025 we will be recycling just 36% of plastic packaging at best,” said Shane Cucow, AMCS plastics expert.

“Already more than half of all turtles and seabirds have plastic in their stomachs. We need ambitious investment to fix our broken recycling systems and increase plastic recovery rates.

“By setting mandatory targets for plastic reduction, investing in recycling, and creating waste solutions for compostable packaging, we can accelerate the transition to a circular economy where plastic is no longer wasted.

“Delivering national harmony is key to solving the waste crisis. Businesses and consumers are increasingly confused by confusing and misleading labelling, and plastic bans and container deposit schemes that are different in every state.

“Mandating the Australian Recycling Label, and delivering a national approach to plastic bans and container deposit schemes are common sense policies that would reduce waste and increase plastic recovery rates.

Mr Cucow urged other political parties to set ambitious waste and plastic pollution reduction policies ahead of the next Federal Election. 

“More plastic is flowing into our oceans than ever, and it is time to admit that voluntary targets have failed.

“With plastic pollution of our oceans projected to triple by 2040, all parties need to raise their ambition and deliver policies that will drastically reduce the plastic killing Australia’s turtles and whales.