The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) welcomes the Federal Senate Report, Never waste a crisis: the waste and recycling industry in Australia, produced by the Environment and Communications References Committee – led by Committee Chair, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson.
The Senate report has made 18 recommendations after speaking with and receiving submissions from industry, government and business. WMAA cannot emphasise enough that this a national opportunity that requires Federal leadership, WMAA welcomes the emphasis on the Circular Economy, the Waste Management Hierarchy and Sustainable Procurement.
“WMAA is in full support of prioritising a shift to a Circular Economy and a commitment to the waste hierarchy,” said WMAA CEO, Gayle Sloan. “This report firmly backs the position of WMAA and the entire industry.”
WMAA has been highlighting the requirement for the Federal Government to set mandatory targets for all government departments on specifying materials bought directly, or via private contractors, to contain recycled content. China’s National Sword policy has affected 1.25 mega-tonnes of Australia’s recyclables exported to China.
“Long before China’s National Sword policy made this an economic challenge for Australia, our industry has been saying to government that we need to rethink the way we use recycled commodities in this country and create an industry for those commodities,” said Ms Sloan. “WMAA applauds the Senate report for seeing the opportunity that this presents and recommending the need for the Federal Government to lead and mandate the use of recycled content in government purchasing. Only then will we see a move towards a Circular Economy.”
After the Meeting of Australian Environment Ministers (MEM), WMAA was pleased that the National Waste Policy will be updated by the end of 2018. Couple this with the Senate report recommending the “urgent implementation of the 16 strategies established under the National Waste Policy” WMAA believes that the community must now see a true commitment from the Federal Government to take a leadership position on these matters.
“We have talked enough about what needs to be done in Australia, we just need to act and take the opportunity that China presented to create remanufacturing jobs in Australia,” said Ms Sloan “The Federal Government must finally step up and pull the policy levers we need like mandating recycled content and all Government departments buying recycled goods, and if they are not, tell the public why not, when 91% of the population supports Government doing this.”
WMAA will continue working with industry and government to lift standards for the better, this involves an integrated approach including harmonised federal waste policies. WMAA recognises Senator Whish-Wilson for his role in championing this federal inquiry and his desire to “identify what can be done to keep the good operators going.”