Government's 2040 recycling pledge is a distraction


The Greens welcome the Government signing up to an aspirational 2040 recycling pledge, but stress Australians want evidence of urgent action now on reducing and removing plastics from the waste stream - especially given the shocking collapse of soft plastic recycler REDcyle.

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

“The Government’s aspirational 2040 recycling target is welcome but should not be a distraction from the most important targets on the table: the 2025 packaging targets.

“Successive governments have spent decades delaying action on waste reduction, allowing big greedy companies to set voluntary waste reduction targets they had no intention of meeting, without any penalties or threats of regulation.

“We know voluntary approaches to reducing plastic packaging simply don’t work. The big plastic polluters have had their chance to clean up their act and they haven’t. Big packing companies care first about their profits, not the planet. 

“I think almost everyone agrees we need action right now, and that we can’t afford to wait until 2040. The only waste and recycling targets I want to hear about from the Minister are APCO’s 2025 packaging targets. 

“APCO is tasked with leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia, and we are expecting an update any day now on whether it is meeting its 2025 packaging reduction targets. 

“The Minister must be transparent about whether APCO has failed to meet its voluntary waste reduction targets, and about what action she will take if this is the case. 

“Mandating recycling targets with regulation is the only way to get big businesses to take waste reduction seriously. It’ll also provide the recycling industry certainty to underpin investments and upgrades in technology and capacity.

“A vague promise by the Government of regulation in three years is yet another three years of inaction. Everything should be built with its next life in mind. If it can’t be reused, repaired, refurbished, or recycled then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.”