Recycling targets slashed as government fails to act

The Australian Greens MPs

Australia’s plastic recycling and waste reduction targets have been slashed and rebranded in an attempt to hide inaction and failure from the Government and big polluters.

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) today launched its ANZPAC Plastics Pact, which undercuts the organisation’s own 2025 National Packaging Targets.

Greens spokesperson for Waste and Recycling, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, said the announcement is a result of the Government’s recent refusal to legislate mandated packaging targets in the Australian Senate.

“The Greens, Labor and all of the cross bench except One Nation voted to make voluntary targets mandatory in law.

“The packaging industry fought hard to stop mandatory targets, even though they always said they were confident in meeting voluntary commitments.

“Today’s announcement from APCO equates to a 27% reduction in these voluntary commitments for plastic recycling.

“APCO has also halved its commitment to increase what packaging is collected and effectively recycled.

“Just a few months ago APCO, Woolworths and the Australian Food and Grocery Council openly said at a series of Senate inquiries they didn’t need regulation and mandated targets as they would meet the voluntary targets the industry set themselves.

“Now that the spotlight is no longer on them, and genuine waste reform is off the Government’s parliamentary agenda, we get them backtracking from their commitments.

“Did they deliberately mislead the Senate in order to avoid government regulation and accountability, or did they just stuff it up?

“Either way the packaging industry and their cheerleaders in Government – including Minister Evans and Ley – have some serious explaining to do.

“We should be ramping up actions to meet waste and recycling targets, not weakening them, and the producers within the packaging industry need to play a key role in this.

“The waste and recycling industry employs over 60,000 Australians and has pushed for strong, regulated targets for the packaging industry.

“Strong, mandated targets would give the waste and recycling industry the certainty to invest in building a circular economy and creating green new jobs.

“Today’s announcement is simply more uncertainty for this critical industry. They have been let down by the Morrison Government, who lobbied hard to prevent the Senate from passing amendments that would have properly regulated the blatant self-interest of big plastic polluters.”

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