Following from the recent decision by the government of China to ban the import of most foreign waste materials (recycling, etc.), Australia’s environment minister has now announced that the company will be investing a significant amount of money into the creation of new trash incineration facilities, and also aiming for all packaging materials to be 100% recycled by 2025.
That being a reference to the direction by the government to fund new waste-to-energy projects such as incinerators and landfill gas capture.
According to new research performed by the consultancy Blue Environment (commissioned by the Australian government), the ban by China relates to around 1.25 million tonnes of Australian waste per year.
Reuters provides more: “In Australia about 30 waste-to-energy projects are operational, mostly confined to small incinerators and co-generation plants, though a handful of larger projects are on the drawing board. A public backlash due to pollution fears saw a major project in Sydney stall in 2018.”
“China, the world’s biggest importer of plastic waste, has stopped accepting shipments of rubbish, such as plastic and paper, as part of a campaign against ‘foreign garbage’. The ban has upended the world’s waste handling supply chain and caused massive pile-ups of trash from Asia to Europe, as exporters struggled to find new buyers for the garbage.”
Commenting on the growing stockpiles of material in Australia resulting from this ban, the convener of Australia’s National Waste and Recycling Industry Council Max Spedding stated: “Some stock is moving, the material that’s clean has been exported, but at much lower prices than it was when China was buying.”
The rest, of course, is accumulating. Hence the “need” for incinerators and recycling. A perhaps more effective course of action would be to reduce the use of such packaging to begin with…but nothing as such seems to be on the table yet in the country.