Home Information Australia plastic-reduction initiative and seven solutions to the problem

Australia plastic-reduction initiative and seven solutions to the problem

by Jasbinder Singh
Australia's plastic-reduction initiative and seven solutions to the problem

Australia may be the world’s smallest continent, yet the quantity of plastic it generates has a massive impact on ocean pollution. According to data on plastic recycling, almost 80% of Australia’s garbage ends up in the ocean. This plastic has a negative impact on marine life and, eventually, human health.

Plastic has been discovered in the most distant and deepest sections of the ocean. Plastic in the tums of seabirds, whales, and turtles has been discovered, which can lead to death since they can’t digest genuine food adequately.

And the devastation continues. Plastic degrades into small fragments known as microplastics, which wind up in our food chain (and in our bodies!) via fish and even sea salt.

What we’re doing to tackle plastic pollution

This isn’t merely an issue of individuals cutting back on their use of plastic recycling more. We must eliminate plastic at its source: the companies that generate plastic garbage. Greenpeace is calling on polluting firms that create BILLIONS of tonnes of plastic bottles and rubbish each year to take action. Sign our petition now to urge that these companies stop using single-use plastic and instead move to refill and reuse.

plastic recycling

Australia must find a means to alleviate the environmental consequences of plastic trash, limit its production, and educate the community on how to constructively contribute to the solution.

Here are seven methods to enhance Australia’s governmental and private approaches to plastic waste.

  1. Increase the Plastic Recycling Rate
  2. Reduce the Plastic Waste
  3. Support Volunteers and Organisations
  4. Introduce Bans on Single-Use Plastic
  5. Improve Waste Export Management
  6. Work on Global Agreements
  7. Continuously Working on Research and Data

Increase the Plastic Recycling Rate

plastic recycling

Every year, the average Australian discards approximately 15.6 kg of plastic. While overall recycling rates have reached 60%, plastic recycling has remained at only 12%, making it Australia’s lowest recycling rate.

Education is one of the most effective approaches to raise the percentage of plastic recycling. People will make better decisions about the plastic they use if they are educated about recycling symbols, where to find them on the packaging, and which ones are recyclable.

Australia is attempting to propagate the concept of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, but the legal implications of recycling must also be addressed. The country lacks the technology and infrastructure needed to recycle bigger amounts of plastic and will need to spend more on the recycling business in the future.

Reduce the Plastic Waste

plastic recycling

When it comes to the principal source of plastic pollution, the manufacturing industry ranks second, accounting for 15% of all Australian ban single-use plastic trash. Private households are the primary producers, generating 1.2 million tonnes of plastic per year and accounting for 47 percent of all plastic waste in Australia.

Unfortunately, the country can do little more than educate people on how to reduce the amount of plastic they use in their homes. People should be taught how to live more environmentally friendly lifestyles and urged to convert to reusable items or non-plastic alternatives.

According to statistics, 90 percent of Australian consumers and companies are worried about the environment. Environmental transformation may be realized if Australia encourages and supports sustainable enterprises for the mutual benefit of the country and its citizens.

Support Volunteers and Organisations

Plastic bags are a recognized hazard to turtles and other marine species, and they are the continent’s most important polluters. Plastic bags makeup 16.6 percent of collected marine garbage and can be found in the environment for up to 1,000 years, causing harm to both the air and the ocean.

As a result, many organizations rely on volunteers who are keen to minimize the quantity of plastic in the oceans and waterways. These organizations labour tirelessly to clean up the seas, and some claim to be able to remove up to 90% of the pollution.

Australia is also expressing its support by establishing a number of strategic strategies and investing millions of dollars in the reduction of marine trash. The Pacific Ocean Litter Project, the Reef 2050 Plan, and the Threat Abatement Plan for the Impacts of Marine Debris on Vertebrate Marine Life are just a few of these initiatives.

Introduce Bans on Single-Use Plastic

One of Australia’s strategies to combat plastic waste includes a ban on single-use plastic by 2025. Straws, throwaway cutlery, and even microbeads in cosmetics are among the items that will be prohibited.

Queensland has already adopted several of these resolutions and will prohibit single-use plastic beginning in September 2021. People with impairments who require plastic to operate normally will be excluded.

Despite the fact that this prohibition would cause severe disruption in many industries, it is projected to considerably aid in lowering the quantity of single-use plastic in households and companies, and hence the environment.

Improve Waste Export Management

Many developed countries have elected to outsource trash recycling to other countries since it is less expensive, helps achieve recycling targets, and decreases waste in home landfills. Regardless of the goal to recycle overseas, plastic nevertheless ends up in the world’s oceans.

Australia enacted the Recycling and Rubbish Reduction Act in 2020, which governs waste export. This regulation prohibits the export of mixed plastics and unprocessed single-polymer or resin plastics. Some forms of processed glass, plastic sorted into single resin or polymer types, plastic treated with additional elements into designed fuel, and other types of differentially processed tyres can still be shipped in 2021.

Work on Global Agreements

Australia is not the only country with a plastic garbage issue. South Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States also contribute to worldwide plastic garbage production. In terms of the amount of plastic garbage discharged into the oceans, Indonesia and India placed first and second, respectively.

This is why several nations are working on worldwide accords to decrease plastic garbage in the seas. For example, the Australian govt ban on single-use plastic will pursue the Global Action on Marine Plastic Pollution.

Under the guidance of the CSIRO, it will also construct an Indonesia-Australia Systemic Innovation Lab on Marine Plastic Waste. The partnership’s goal is to strengthen bilateral ties and collaborate to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Continuously Working on Research and Data  

Finally, Australia should continue to invest in research, innovation, and data collection in order to identify innovative ways to deal with plastic waste. The government has funded $20.6 million to build a public-facing Garbage Data Visualization Platform that shows the information on the types of waste found in Australia.

Australia will also invest $29.1 million in different research initiatives aimed at demonstrating novel recycling processes and reducing the quantity of waste disposed of in landfills.

Under the guidance of the CSIRO, it will also construct an Indonesia-Australia Systemic Innovation Lab on Marine Plastic Waste. The partnership’s goal is to strengthen bilateral ties and collaborate to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

When it comes to plastic trash, Australia looks to have room for improvement in a number of areas. The general public is concerned that their government is not doing enough, and corporations want to have a role in addressing environmental issues as well.

Despite the fact that there are several strategies and legal papers in place, it appears that Australia will require a few more years to show benefits in terms of reducing plastic consumption and ocean pollution.

Fortunately, the Australian government is actively striving to restrict single-use plastic, promote worldwide alliances, and focus on research and statistics that will assist the country in improving its recycling procedures.

Actions Taken by Australians in Response to the Plastics Plan

Timeline

2019

  • Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to establish a timetable to ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass, and tyres
  • National Waste Policy Action Plan (NWPAP) agreed to by Australia’s environment ministers

2020

  • First National Plastics Summit
  • Passing of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020

2021

  • CSIRO’s A circular economy roadmap for plastics, tyres, glass and paper in Australia (January 2021)
  • First National Plastics Plan delivers on action 5.5 of the NWPAP
  • Regulate unsorted mixed plastic waste exports (July 2021)
  • First review of National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 and the Australian Packaging Covenant to evaluate the co-regulatory arrangements
  • National Plastics Design Summit

2022

  • Regulate unprocessed single polymer or resin waste plastic exports (July 2022)
  • Phase out plastic packaging products containing additive fragmentable technology that do not meet relevant compostable standards (AS4736-2006, AS5810-2010 and EN13432) (July 2022)
  • Phase out expanded polystyrene (EPS) from loose fill and moulded packaging in consumer packaging (July 2022), and EPS food and beverage containers (December 2022)
  • Phase out PVC packaging labels (December 2022)
  • Review progress of 2025 National Packaging Targets

2023

  • At least 80% of supermarket products to display the Australasian Recycling Label (December 2023)

2025

  •   National Packaging Targets for industry:
  •  100% of packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable
  •   70% of plastic packaging goes on to be recycled or composted
  •   50% average recycled content within packaging (20% for plastic packaging)
  •  problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics packaging phased out (target 5 of NWPAP)
  • Work with textile and white goods industry to phase in microplastic filters for washing machines

2030

  • Work with the textile and white goods sectors on an industry-led phase-in of microfibre filters on new residential and commercial washing machines by 1 July 2030

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