WMRR welcomes Queensland’s single-use plastics roadmap; calls for national harmonisation
1 July 2022
The Queensland government has today announced that it will ban plastic microbeads, polystyrene packing peanuts and plastic-stemmed cotton buds by 1 September 2023, unveiling its proposed five (5)-year roadmap to phase out harmful, single-use plastics.
The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) welcomed the announcement, congratulating the Queensland government for taking a forward-thinking approach to managing these materials as well as being the first to recognise the need to use recycled content in replacement items.
Acknowledging that all jurisdictions across Australia have their eyes firmly set on phasing out single-use plastics, the association is calling for a nationally harmonised approach to ensure that both business and community can achieve what we all want- less waste.
“It is pleasing to see the work that states are doing to stem the scourge of unnecessary single-use items, and WMRR welcomes the Queensland government’s five (5)-year roadmap,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said, adding, “we also congratulate the government and the National Retailers Association for the work in the Roadmap to replace single-use items with re-use items that include recycled content. We need more commitment to this nationally.
“It is important that as states and territories continue in their efforts to phase out single-use plastics, governments also work towards developing nationally consistent strategies to mitigate any risk of confusion to communities and businesses. We also need them to include real targets for replacement items that include recycled content so we can grow and invest with certainty in infrastructure and systems that support the ban. If we get this right, it’ll mean more jobs for Australians.
“Now that we have a new federal government, Australia needs to develop its own robust plastics pact, like the European Union, that brings together all jurisdictions and businesses across the entire plastics value chain to drive greater cross border cooperation, market demand, and harmonisation,” Ms Sloan said.
“At present, we have disparate strategies that are calling for bespoke bans making it really challenging for businesses and the community to understand and meet, as well as challenging for industry to invest and innovate as no two states are the same. We have already learnt the hard way with the container deposit scheme that we need to do this together, rather than retrospectively try to harmonise.
“National harmonisation is important in our efforts to adopt these bans and manage unnecessary waste, we have to be really careful we do not simply replace one waste with another. Australia needs a national plastics pact that commits governments and businesses across the entire supply chain to not only phase out problematic plastics, but also ensure a consistent set of bans as well as purchase recycled plastics.
“As part of this pact, we also need robust design targets for the use of recycled content and recyclability, including reporting on these and the penalties and/or plans should stakeholders miss the mark.
“The federal government must take the lead in bringing the plastics value chain together by establishing a plastic pact and in doing so, we will be able to finally see systemic change across Australia,” Ms Sloan said.