Parties running in the federal election urgently need to respond to Australia’s “internationally embarrassing” recycling rate, according to a new report from the Australian Council of Recycling.
The peak body’s Australia is Losing the Recycling Race report finds that Australia ranks 13th in the world for recycling rates, with recycled and composted waste comprising 41 per cent of total municipal waste, compared with 65 per cent for leader Germany, and behind countries like South Korea, Sweden, the UK and Denmark.
ACOR chief executive Grant Musgrove said it was not good enough.
“Australia is losing the recycling race,” he said. “This is despite being one of the richest countries in the world and having with one of the worst rates of waste generation.
“Logically, we should have one of the highest recycling rates in the world.”
He said there had been no mention of waste or recycling in the federal campaign.
“We have an extraordinary disconnect between community expectations and government action. The community supports recycling, but our national government is failing to take positive actions.”
The report calls for the government to recommit to the National Waste Strategy, which has previously been agreed upon by state and federal governments; the reinstatement of green procurement policies abandoned by the federal government in 2014; enforcement of anti-dumping regulations against China; and improved recycling schemes for televisions and computers, tyres, batteries and fluorescent lights.
The report said there were many benefits to improving recycling rates, including:
- Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills, which conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals
- Preventing pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
- Saving energy
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
- Helping sustain the environment for future generations
- Helping create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and remanufacturing industries