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What is happening with recycling as a result of the election?

By Simon Williams
·
June 24, 2019

As the election results became clear on the evening of May 18, there was only one question being asked around the country: “What shape will our planet be in after three years time?”. With Asia no longer accepting waste exports, solutions need to accelerate faster than previous terms to mitigate and manage an issue that has by no means slowed down. It’s no secret that the Liberal National Party does not share the same environmental policies as that of its counterparts, so the issue of recycling and it’s progression is a matter that must be discussed and understood by all.

Liberal National Party’s stance on recycling

The Morrison government has pledged $137.4 million towards Practical Environment Restoration, which will include the funding of environmental protection projects and waste recycling, among other initiatives. Of that sum, the bulk of the funding is to be allocated in support of practical waste and recycling, which may be established or new entities. The protection and stimulation of the recycling industry is not a policy the party is known for, but it is one that the Australian community must keep parliament accountable to. Close The Loop has forged a recycling movement under a Liberal government, and so there is more that can be achieved over the next three years.

Australian Labor Party’s stance on recycling

While the policies are now moot, it is still critical that we discuss the opposition's stance on national issues and weigh them against what we have, and what is possible in the next three years. Often grouped in environmental discussions is the Australian Labor Party, who comparatively have a deeper engagement with issues pertaining to climate change and waste management. The party had pledged $90 million to specifically establish a national waste commissioner and define government targets surrounding the purchase of recycled materials. This benchmark would also extend to roads, with all major roads constructed using recycled products. Many of these recycled road projects are made possible with recycled printer cartridges.

What does the outcome mean?

Liberal National Party Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, believes that the elected party intends on prioritising recycling given the recent barriers in place. On the topic, Andrews said, “The Coalition is prioritising and supporting Australian businesses and researchers to innovate, develop new markets and design products for recycled plastics.” Given the innovations pioneered by entities like Close the Loop, the market has shown support to the cause with businesses and individuals open to the use of recycled products.

“We’ve always been taught ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and this funding round will help reduce the economic cost and impact of plastics on our environment and oceans. We want to see improved plastic collection and sorting systems in recycling plants and better quality of products made using these recycled plastics in areas like manufacturing and construction,” said Andrew’s.

Only time will tell what progression we see in the recycling space, but it is in no way controlled solely by our government. Whether you are Greens, Labor or Liberal - we are all residents on planet Earth. Every business and individual needs to continue the quest towards a recycling and environmentally forward-thinking community, by keeping the government accountable to this endeavour.

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