Recycling and waste report highlights need for action on waste

A report released by the Palaszczuk Government today shows more waste was coming from interstate last financial year, and Queensland’s reported waste generation exceeded 10 million tonnes for the first time.

In releasing the Recycling and Waste in Queensland 2018 report at today’s National Waste Recycling Industry Council quarterly meeting, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said the report demonstrated the urgency needed to improve Queensland’s waste management.

“This report provides a snapshot of how waste and recyclables were managed, recovered and disposed of in 2017–18 financial year,” Ms Enoch said.

“Alarmingly, more than 1.2 million tonnes of waste was trucked over the border into Queensland in 2017-18.

“If you lined up all of these trucks, the line would stretch from Brisbane to past Mackay.

“This amount was about a 37% increase – or more than 394,000 tonnes – compared to the previous financial year.

“These figures are further proof that the impacts are still being felt from the LNP’s reckless decision to scrap the waste levy in Queensland in 2012.

“The Palaszczuk Government is moving ahead with is comprehensive waste management strategy, which is underpinned by a waste levy that is proposed to begin on July 1 this year. This will stop the trucks and create incentives to divert waste away from landfill while encouraging more recycling and resource recovery initiatives.”

Ms Enoch said the Recycling and Waste in Queensland 2018 report also showed Queensland generated nearly 11 million tonnes of waste in 2017-18, which was an increase of 1.1 million tonnes compared to the previous year.

“This represented an 11% increase, which is concerning when you consider our population only grew by 1.6% in the same time period.

“We need to do something about how we manage waste in Queensland, and that is why we are working on a better strategy for our state.

“We want to increase investment in recycling and resource recovery industries.

“Because not only is diverting waste away from landfill better for our environment, it also provides more job opportunities.

“It is estimated that for every 10,000 tonnes of waste disposed in landfill, about 3 jobs are supported. But if that waste was recycled, this would support about 9 jobs.”

Ms Enoch said it was promising to see recycling rates increase, but there was still room for improvement.

“In 2017-18, Queenslanders increased their recycling effort for household and business wastes by 580,000 tonnes, resulting in close to 5 million tonnes of materials being diverted from landfill.

“However, we still recycle only 45% of the waste we generate, which needs to change.

“That is why last year we introduced a ban on single-use lightweight plastic bags, along with a container refund scheme, Containers for Change.

“By working together we can create a more resourceful, less wasteful future that maximises the value of our resources and supports the development of sustainable new jobs and industries.”

Rick Ralph, Chief Executive Officer, Waste Recycling Industry Association said that the waste and recycling industry in Queensland is looking forward with confidence.

“With government reforms to policy and regulation, industry can invest which will create new jobs by increasing the states resource recovery performance,” Mr Ralph said.

The Recycling and Waste in Queensland report is prepared annually based on data supplied by local governments, the waste and resource recovery industry and recyclers across the state.

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