Ministers fail on national action on packaging , batteries and container refunds

Today’s meeting of the nation’s Environment Ministers has signalled urgent action will need to be taken by individual states in order to resolve regulation of packaging, especially soft plastics, battery waste and expanding container refund schemes.

"It appears the Commonwealth is stuck in the go slow lane, with the meeting communiqué admitting individual jurisdictions will follow their own paths. This is what industry has warned against but if that’s what it is, we want states to move now,’’ said Jeff Angel for Boomerang Alliance and Total Environment Centre.   

We want to see an end to the weak industry schemes that have failed to deliver comprehensive and effective action on wasteful packaging.  Instead, mandated full scale producer responsibility for the entire life cycle is necessary making producers fully responsible for design, collection, material recovery and return to secondary markets; targets for the recovery of packaging and for recycled content and reusable, compostable and recyclable packaging; and a 20% plastic packaging reduction and 30% reusable packaging target for 2030.

Battery waste is a core threat to our entire recycling sector and we welcome the statement that NSW, Qld and Victoria will move quickly on all batteries. The current voluntary B-cycle scheme by industry is limited and weak and has and will continue to fail.

As for including more beverages like wine and spirits in the successful container refund schemes, two jurisdictions (Qld and NT) have already broken ranks, so other states like NSW and South Australia should now follow. The longer there is delay, the more valuable materials that will be lost to landfill. 


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