Government finally acting on plastic packaging pollution


National packaging and waste reduction targets designed to increase recycling, help build a circular economy and minimise plastic pollution are likely to be regulated and enforced after decades of failed voluntary industry-led schemes. 

Following questioning from Senator Peter Whish-Wilson in Senate Estimates, the federal environment department acknowledged a move is underway to reset recycling and waste reduction laws, with hopes a national enforceable scheme to clean up plastic packaging waste will be established by 2025.

Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for waste and recycling, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson:

“The failure of the Federal Government to hold big plastic producers and polluters to account for the mess they make has dragged on long enough.

“It’s a relief to see the federal environment department signal a long overdue move to establish a legally enforceable producer-responsibility scheme under federal laws. 

“For years the Greens, waste advocacy groups, and the recycling industry have called for the government to regulate strict national waste reduction and recycling targets. 

“For too long successive governments have allowed big producers of plastic pollution to self-regulate their own voluntary waste reduction and recycling targets, without any penalties for failure or fear of regulation.

“Most Australians would applaud federal government leadership in developing a new regulatory framework for waste reduction, especially one that removes unnecessary single-use plastics from our waste stream, promotes the redesign of packaging for a circular economy and provides the recycling industry with the investment confidence needed to upgrade infrastructure. 

“A new approach to waste reduction and recycling is long overdue and if done right, will no doubt be a huge win for jobs, innovation, and Australia’s environment and oceans.”