We all want to do the right thing and put plastic in the correct recycling bin. But if there is no market for recycled plastic, funding the recycling process gets difficult.
Governments have the ability to improve plastic recycling by buying recycled materials. One way to improve recycling rates is for governments to buy more recycled materials. Australian Council of Recycling chief Pete Shmigel says governments could sell recycled materials to roads agencies that would use them. Another 100,000 tonnes of soft plastics could be used if two road projects per state used 1.5 per cent recycled plastic content. This would nearly double the current amount recycled. Find out how to recycle soft plastics. "If we can just point of a map where we can put this stuff, we can get it fixed real quick and we don't have to go through all the rigmarole," he told a Senate inquiry.
Currently, not enough Australian plastic is recycled. The legislation the government is introducing could change this. However, some industry partners want the rules of the bill to be stronger. The government has flagged rule changes to ensure recyclables are considered in contracts. However, National Waste and Recycling Industry Council chief Rose Read wants the bills tweaked to ensure producers take more responsibility. She also wants requirements for companies to increase the amount of recycled content used in their products and packaging. We cannot recycle our way out of the plastic crisis. However, for the plastic items in circulation already, recycling is the only answer. We need to increase recycling rates drastically – and that requires government intervention on markets for recycled plastic.
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