Today I convened a Waste and Recycling Round Table with local government and industry to discuss potential approaches to the recent restrictions on solid waste imports into China and explore the broader waste management priorities for Tasmania.
The move by China to reduce levels of contamination in recyclates entering the country has had an effect on Australian waste export markets, which is impacting on recycling businesses and local governments across the country. Tasmania has not been immune from this pressure.
Today was the perfect opportunity to hear directly from local government, regional waste managers and the recycling and waste industry about their key issues, priorities and opportunities for the future.
A key outcome of the Round Table was an agreement to collaborate on the further development of an overarching state-wide strategy, a new Waste Action Plan for Tasmania. This Plan also has the potential to create jobs and investment opportunities.
As part of our discussions, I released the consultant’s report on a model framework for a Container Refund Scheme for Tasmania. The report is the outcome of the 2017/18 State Budget initiative and it will be available on the EPA Tasmania website.
We know there is no single solution to our waste and recycling challenges, and the Government’s priority is on the development and implementation of an overarching Waste Action Plan for Tasmania.
Today, it was agreed that to be effective in reducing waste and litter and increasing recycling and recovery, initiatives such as a Container Refund Scheme (as well as the banning of particular types of waste streams like plastic bags and straws) must be considered in a much broader context, rather than in isolation. In this context, the Government will continue to consider the views of local government, industry, business and the community regarding a CRS and a range of other initiatives in developing the Waste Action Plan.
Mayor Doug Chipman, President of the Local Government Association of Tasmania said that local Government welcomes the Round Table. A strategic state-wide approach, developed collaboratively between State and local government, is recognised as being an important element in improving long-term waste outcomes in Tasmania.
“The impacts of China’s restrictions are being felt deeply by councils and the community’s interest in waste management in general has risen significantly,” Mayor Chipman said.
“We have five motions on waste at our upcoming LGAT General Meeting and I look forward to collaborating with the State Government in addressing these issues.”