According to the Waste Industry Alliance Head, Tim Piper, the Government must act fast to deal with a waste recycling crisis that has huge implications for the community and industry.
"Both industry and the community require the Government to step in and provide a long-term solution to the recycling industry, now that China has chosen not to accept contaminated waste," Mr Piper said.
"There are numerous ways for the Government to take steps. None are a silver bullet, but together they can make a difference."
Mr Piper suggested action including:
- a significant education program aimed at the community to ensure we all understand which products can be re-cycled and which cannot, including recognition of what causes contamination of recycled products and the council rates savings that can be made;
- funding for plans to consider waste-to-energy options – including the economic and environmental viability of projects – to help deal with contaminated recycled waste;
- consider long-term planning options for waste-to-energy and other waste facilities including directing funding towards such proposals;
- funding initiatives to create a recognised closed-loop system of recycling in Victoria and encourage development of businesses which manufacture using recycled product; and
- use government procurement and purchasing power to help develop a closed-loop recycling industry, including the requirement to use recycled products in government projects.
Mr Piper said the Government is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars in the Sustainability Levy, money which the waste industry itself has collected and which the community has paid.
"The levy is designed to provide support for these types of products. It's high time the Government spent Sustainability Levy dollars in delivering on what both the community and industry needs – a new and improved recycling system," Mr Piper said.
Tim Piper – 0411 430 301
Tim Piper is Head – Waste Industry Alliance; and Head – Victoria for the Australian Industry Group