Maddocks clients should be aware that the submission period for the current review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011 (Cth) closes on 29 June.
This is an important opportunity to promote national measures to address the Chinese Waste Ban and promote sustainable packaging that supports investment in domestic recycling.
While recently there has been much focus on recycling schemes for electronics, paints and other discrete items which are difficult to recover, the Act can also create industry-led schemes for recovery of packaging. Regarding this, the discussion paper released for consultation has this to say:
“In 2012, environment ministers commenced a Packaging Impacts Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) process to look at options for beverage containers, packaging waste and litter more broadly. Ten options were considered, including replacing the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) for co-regulation under the Act. In December 2014 the RIS was released. The RIS recommended that the APC continue in absence of any new national approach to be taken on packaging. Consequently packaging was not included on the list for 2015–16.”
In other words, not much has changed since 2012 with respect to packaging.
While New South Wales recently launched a container deposit scheme in partnership with Cleanaway, this has been described as an expensive scheme and is funded by taxpayers. We ask whether it would be a better outcome to support a revised APC which looks at ways to increase the use of recycled materials in production, so as to help build capacity in the Australian recycling industry.
It seems to us that all levels of government have a role to play in creating the right market settings for the recycling industry at this particularly challenging time.