Queensland floods

The Queensland Department of Environment and Science Industry Waste Group met this week to propose government actions related to flood waste for those affected by the disastrous flooding in southeast Queensland.

Support includes a proposed waste disposal levy exemption for flood waste, and the Department will be communicating with impacted councils and landfill operators, as well as temporary transfer stations for flood waste.

WRIQ has been liaising closely with the Department and can assist with any enquiries, please contact WRIQ CEO Georgina Davis Georgina@wriq.com.au.

Alternatively the Department can be contacted via waste.assessment@des.qld.gov.au.

Resources are also available on the Department’s website.

South Australia single-use plastics legislation comes into effect

Stage 2 of the Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020 came into effect in South Australia on 1 March, as the state continues its move to be a ‘clean and green’ jurisdiction.

Expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates, clamshell containers and all oxo-degradable plastic products will be prohibited from sale, supply, and distribution. Oxo-degradable products are also prohibited from production and manufacture in South Australia. Visit SA Government’s Replace the Waste website for more details.

The Federal Budget – 29 March

With the Federal Election to be held no later than 21 May, the upcoming Federal Budget, due to be handed down on 29 March, will be watched with keen interest as the government sets up its priorities for building Australia’s economic recovery. As it is a Federal Election year, the Federal Opposition response is traditionally delivered two days later and will be closely watched.

NWRIC’s attention will be firmly focussed on commitments to meet the National Waste Policy Action Plan 2030 resource recovery target of 80% by fast tracking government and industry procurement of recycled content, as well as the continuation of the Recycling Modernisation, National Product Stewardship Investment and Food Waste for Healthy Soils Funds, amongst other priorities.

New UN treaty to target plastic producers and users

(extract From FOOTPRINT 3 March 2022)

The UN Environmental Assembly has agreed to negotiate a new binding treaty that will target the entire plastics lifecycle.

The treaty is scheduled to be finalised by the end of 2024.  (The text of the draft resolution as adopted can be viewed here.)

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said Australia had backed a lifecycle approach that would include a binding treaty. (See Minister Ley’s online statement to the Assembly here).

“Australia has set the standard for how it deals with waste plastics, investing towards a circular economy and through our ban on the export of unprocessed waste plastic,” Minister Ley said.

The Boomerang Alliance of environment groups said Australia and other nations “get a big tick” for backing the plastics treaty resolution.

An effective treaty could reduce plastic pollution by 80% by 2040, and virgin plastic use by 55%, Boomerang Alliance Director, Jeff Angel said, adding that the reduction needed to occur at an even faster rate.

UNEP executive director Inger Andersen said it would be the most important international environmental treaty since the Paris Agreement, delivering large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as protecting biodiversity.

“The bottom line is we will eliminate plastic pollution from our environment,” she told the closing press conference.

“The most difficult issues in the negotiations are likely to include goal-setting, how to measure progress, and financing,” Andersen said.

“We will also need to bring the private sector into the room, because the private sector after all is the producer of plastics.

“And we will need to have a conversation about whether we should have a goal for reduced raw polymer in the production chain,” Andersen added.