Media Release Plastic Pollution

Queensland recycling investment will help ocean plastic pollution crisis

December 11, 2021

Australia’s leading ocean conservation organisation has welcomed the Queensland state government’s announcement of a $2.1 billion waste package, including a $1.1 billion Recycling and Jobs Fund.

The fund is designed to help build missing infrastructure to reduce waste sent to landfill, funding waste avoidance and behaviour change initiatives, recycling and remanufacturing facilities, collection infrastructure, organics processing and other related initiatives.

Australian Marine Conservation Society plastics expert Shane Cucow said the funding injection would be critical in lowering ocean plastic pollution.

“We are pleased to see the state government rising to the challenge of reducing plastic pollution in Queensland, protecting our incredible ocean heritage.

“Queensland has one of the lowest plastics recycling rates in the country, with only 8% of plastic packaging recovered for recycling in the 2019/20 financial year.

“That means more than 90% of plastic packaging in Queensland is being buried, burnt or flowing out into our oceans, killing our wildlife.

“This funding will help to build the missing recycling infrastructure that has been sorely missing in the Sunshine state.”

Mr Cucow called on the Queensland Government to ensure the funds were used to deliver modern recycling facilities and kerbside compost collection, to deal with rising plastics consumption.

“We are seeing the use of compostable plastic cutlery, cups and garbage bags rising dramatically, yet most of these plastics won’t break down in home compost, requiring industrial composting facilities to fully decompose.

“If they blow into our waterways or wash into our oceans, they can still take years to break down, entangling and suffocating turtles, whales and seabirds.

“We call on the Queensland government to commit to delivering kerbside collection of food and organics for every household, along with the industrial composting facilities needed to process compostable plastics.”

Notes to editors

The latest Australian Packaging Recycling and Consumption Data (2019/20) is available from APCO here.