The establishment of Plastics Stewardship Australia by ACCI member Chemistry Australia to promote the sustainable use and recovery of plastics has been welcomed by The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
ACCI Chief Economist Ross Lambie said the business-led initiative showed industry’s commitment to reduce and manage Australia’s plastic waste and invest in the burgeoning circular economy.
“There is growing interest in Australia and internationally in the circular economy as a means to deal with issues relating to natural resource depletion, environmental degradation and waste management.
“For the last few months ACCI has been advocating for Government and industry bodies to explore this exciting new economy, to use natural resources more efficiently, remove unnecessary waste from circulation and encourage sustainability.
“This is a complex problem that requires innovative solutions to reduce our consumption of plastics, change the way we use plastics and dispose of plastics, particularly increasing the end-of-life recovery of plastics.
“The establishment of Plastics Stewardship Australia will help better coordinate government and industry action on more effective ways to reuse and recycle plastic products at their end-of-life, preventing plastic reaching our waterways and other harm to the environment.”
Dr Lambie said the ban on export of waste plastics, paper, glass and tyres has increased the urgency to develop recycling capacity in Australia, and for further R&D into the more efficient use of waste materials and the market development for recycled materials.
“The most efficient use of material resources and better environmental outcomes are achieved by policies that increase competition in existing markets, create competitive new markets, provide incentives for business to innovate and invest in new technologies.
“We should be focusing on industry-led solutions, such as those proposed by Plastics Stewardship Australia, with Government creating the right enabling environment for private investment.
“ACCI has also been advocating for the Government to task the Productivity Commission to undertake a review of the potential economic benefits of the circular economy to Australia – such a move would help accelerate our country’s shift to this new model.”