The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has launched its Rescue Our Recycling action plan, setting out five key actions that it recommends each level of government should take to help solve the current recycling crisis.
The release of the action plan comes weeks after the State’s EPA shut down a major material recovery facility for environmental law breaches, resulting in a number of city councils being forced to divert large quantities of recycling material to landfill.
The MAV is calling for the State Government to unlock $500 million in funding from its recycling levy to offer short term relief for Victorian councils.
Cr Coral Ross, MAV President said Victoria’s recycling system is broken but, with the right policy leadership and investment, it can be saved and even strengthened.
“While China’s National Sword policy exposed the vulnerability of our recycling industry, the current crisis is primarily due to Australia’s unsustainable levels of waste generation and market failure.
“There are no quick fix solutions. However it’s clear urgent action is needed by all levels of government together with the Waste and Resource Recovery Boards, industry, business and individual consumers.
The action plan also calls on the Victorian Government to:
urgently increase Sustainability Fund investment into recycling sorting and processing infrastructure, plus market research and development to drive demand for recycled products;
commit to introducing a container deposit scheme;
establish greater State oversight of the recycling industry to improve industry transparency and accountability in delivering an essential community service.
To reduce waste generation and drive industry change, the plan calls on the Federal Government to:
introduce mandatory product stewardship schemes to require producers to take responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products, eg. by ensuring products are recycled at the end of their life (such schemes already exist for mobile phones and TVs);
require all consumer packaging sold in Australia to display the Australasian Recycling Label to improve community understanding of what is and isn’t recyclable.