Australians want government fix on recycling: survey  

As environment ministers gather for a key meeting today a new survey shows overwhelming support for government action on recycling.

The survey conducted by polling firm Crosby Textor and commissioned by the Australian Council of Recycling shows that 91 per cent of respondents supported a national action plan on recycling and 89 per cent want recycled content included in government procurement.

The national survey of 1,000 Australians, conducted in mid-April, also found that 88 per cent supported new requirements for packaging to be recyclable, and for national education to reduce contamination in kerbside recycling.

Chief executive of Crosby Textor Yaron Finkelstein said:

“You don’t often see very high figures of overwhelming support for policy changes like we saw on this issue.”

The survey also showed that half of respondents were aware of China’s recent National Sword policy which has highlighted long-standing issues in Australian’s recycling industry and threatened kerbside recycling collection in some states.

The findings were released yesterday ahead of a meeting of federal and state environment ministers today.

ACOR, the Waste Management Association of Australia and the Boomerang Alliance, a coalition of environment groups, called on the ministers to back their recently released National Circular Economy and Recycling Plan with a $150m one-off investment (read GN’s previous coverage).

Pete Shmigel, chief executive of ACOR, said the survey showed the public overwhelmingly supports leadership by governments to reboot recycling.

“Across all states, age groups, city and country, and social and political lines, Australians are resoundingly saying to ministers: act now for domestic recycling in Australia to survive and thrive.

“The community knows recycling makes sense and that’s why they participate. They have made the system strong over 30 years and it’s up to ministers to future-focus recycling for its next 30 years as a domestic industry that’s a key part of a circular economy,” he said.

Greens launch recycling plan

Elsewhere yesterday the Greens announced a plan to reboot Australia’s recycling industry which included $500 million over five years to improve recycling infrastructure and programs.

The funding, to be administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, would be matched by state governments.

Mandatory targets for procurement of recycled content at all levels of government, product stewardship schemes and $10 million in community recycling grants are other elements of the plan.

The Greens said they would work towards a phase-out of single use plastics, introduce an immediate national ban on microbeads and single-use plastic bags, and provide $50 million to establish a Plastic Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) to help clean up oceans.

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