Between 2017 and 2018, Queensland reported a 37 per cent increase in the amount of waste shipped in from interstate. This brought its annual reported waste to 10.9 million tonnes, a level it’s now looking to reduce with a new waste management and resource recovery strategy.
A draft strategy, currently in the consultation stage, aims to turn Queensland into a zero waste society. Three 2050 targets are outlined within the draft: a 25 per cent reduction in household waste, limiting waste sent to landfill to 10 per cent, and a goal of 75 per cent recycling rates across all waste types.
Minister for environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Leeanne Enoch, says waste is a major concern for Queensland, but being “a poor performer in waste recovery and littering compared to other Australian states and territories” is putting its “enviable lifestyle and environment” at risk.
A major first step proposed by the transitional strategy is to implement a levy on waste destined for landfill, to commence on 1 July 2019.
“The levy will not only align Queensland with other states and territories, but it will encourage sustainable alternatives to landfill. It will also provide vital funding for infrastructure investment, research and development into new technologies,” says Enoch.
The state government has pledged to dedicate 70 per cent of funds created by the levy to educational and otherwise supportive programs, including research and development of new technologies.
A $100 million dollar investment from the Queensland government will also be made initially, to go towards expanding the state’s existing recycling and resource recovery facilities.
The strategy, developed with Arup, aims to move Queensland away from a “take, make, use, dispose” approach by reducing the impact of waste on its communities and environment, transitioning towards a circular waste economy and building economic opportunities.
Consultations are open via email until 5pm 5 April 2019. See website for more details.