NWRIC presents at NSW Parliamentary inquiry into plastic reduction 

This week the Planning and Environment Committee at NSW Parliament held its second hearing on its inquiry into the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Amendment (Plastics Reduction) Bill 2020.

The Bill aims to phase out single-use plastics and other plastic products that are harmful to the environment as well as proposing to set targets for plastic reduction with a view to eliminating plastic pollution.

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read addressed the inquiry saying NWRIC supported the Bill and its intent in banning single-use and problematic plastics.

“NWRIC absolutely supports the ban of single-use plastics however it’s imperative that there is consistency across the other states and territories in terms of items and timings, as this makes it far easier for manufacturers and players in the supply chain to participate and engage, ”Ms Read said.

The following table outlines the current position of the states and territories in relation to banning single use and problematic plastics.

Jurisdiction Single-use plastic items banned / phased out Timetable
SA Straws, cutlery and stirrers 1 March 2021
QLD Straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers 1 July 2021
VIC Straws, cutlery, plates, drink-stirrers, expanded polystyrene food and drink containers, and cotton bud sticks Feb 2023
ACT Cutlery, drink stirrers and expanded polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers July 2021
NSW Nothing proposed at this time – discussion paper in April 2020 sought feedback on key single-use plastics; parliamentary inquiry underway Unknown
NT Nothing proposed at this time Unknown
WA Plastic plates, cutlery, stirrers, straws, thick plastic bags, polystyrene food containers and helium balloon releases 2023
TAS Draft waste action plan notes phasing out of problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2030  

Phase out plastic packaging products with additive fragmentable technology that do not meet relevant compostable standards (AS4736-2006, AS5810-2010 and EN13432)

Phase out expanded polystyrene (EPS) from loose packaging fill and moulded packaging in consumer packaging

Phase out EPS food and beverage containers (December 2022)

Phase out PVC packaging labels (December 2022


July 2022

July 2022

December 2022

December 2022

Ms Read also reinforced the importance of product stewardship in her presentation to the Committee.

“NWRIC is also very supportive of mandatory product stewardship schemes as the most effective way of identifying, and making responsible, those manufacturers, retailers and companies putting these plastics on the market.

“It is these organisations that have the capacity to implement changes in design, as well as the systems to collect and recover these products so that they can be recycled.”

Ms Read also noted in her presentation to the inquiry that NWRIC was concerned about PFAS and its inclusion in products.

“NWRIC is keen to see the phasing out of PFAS elements sooner rather than later to help ensure cleaner waste streams and better recovery of materials.

“We also see a real need to start phasing out polystyrene and PVC packaging which are largely responsible for contamination issues in municipal and kerbside recycling.

“In terms of packaging, we want to see single-polymer packaging and mandated labelling which will help ensure cleaner inputs and drive resource recovery,” Ms Read said.

“Finally, we believe that mandating recycled content in plastics and packaging will aid market creation, increasing investment in the sector as well as job creation.”

Transcripts from the Committee hearings can be found here.

Follow the progress of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Amendment (Plastics Reduction) Bill 2021 here.

AORA Conference fast approaching

The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) will hold its annual conference from 15-17 June at the Crowne Plaza in the NSW Hunter Valley.

The conference theme is Pathways to sustainable growth and will include workshops, presentations, social events and an equipment demonstration day.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management the Hon. Trevor Evans MP will officially open the conference and the program includes presentations from three exciting keynote speakers, Jeff Lowenfels – author and leader in the organics movement, soil scientist Dr Jeff Baldock and CEO of Compost Systems in Austria, Aurel Lübke.

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read said the conference was a must attend for anyone working in the organics industry.

“With the recent Federal Budget allocating funds to invest in new food organic and garden organic waste initiatives, the conference is a perfect opportunity to discuss how industry can get involved,” Ms Read said.

Specifications for PET and HDPE now published

Listed specifications for PET and HDPE have been published on the department’s website.

Exporters wishing to nominate one or more listed specifications in an application for a waste plastic export licence will be able to select them in the Waste Export Licensing and Declaration (WELD) portal.

Follow these steps in the WELD:

  1. Go to the ‘Waste details’ tab
  2. Scroll down to the heading ‘Plastic – Specification/s for export material’.
  3. Answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘Are you using any specification/s listed on the department’s website?’
  4. Select one or more listed specifications from the drop-down box.

For more information contact the Waste Export Section of the department on email exportwaste@environment.gov.au or phone 1800 852 974