National commitment to circular economy by 2030

Monday, 24 October, 2022

National commitment to circular economy by 2030

The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) has welcomed the pledge from the Environment Ministers Meeting (EMM) to work with the private sector to design out waste and pollution, keep materials in use and foster strong end markets to achieve a circular economy by 2030.

In this year’s first meeting of the federal, state and territory environment ministers under the stewardship of Minister Plibersek, one of the agreements reached was to work with the private sector to design out waste and pollution, keep materials in use, and foster markets to achieve a circular economy by 2030.

“We need to work collaboratively to tackle the urgent environmental issues we face, that’s why meetings like this are important,” Plibersek said on Twitter shortly after the meeting.

This agreement will ensure that all packaging available in Australia is designed to be recovered, reused, recycled and reprocessed safely in line with circular economy principles. There was also renewed commitment for the recycling of household electronics and clean technologies such as solar panels, and end-of-life tyres will be included on the minister’s product stewardship priority list.

ACOR said it was encouraged to see this commitment to a national alignment between environmental policies and circular economy principles. Pursuing a circular economy by 2030 where resource recovery, remanufacturing and recycling are at the forefront will create jobs, generate economic and social value, and unleash design and manufacturing innovation.

“We welcome the outcomes of the Environment Ministers Meeting, which signal strong support for the resource recovery industry, manufacturers and the private sector by clearly identifying a pathway to a circular economy through product design and demand for recycled content,” said ACOR CEO Suzanne Toumbourou.

“A focus on extended producer responsibilities for electronics and clean technologies will benefit consumers, recyclers and the environment while ensuring that we are on an innovation pathway to meet our circular economy goals.

“Innovation is only possible and sustainable with strong markets for recycled products. If we are serious about supporting better product design and more efficient production processes, we need governments — as Australia’s largest infrastructure client and major procurer of goods — to play a key role in leading market demand for recycled content and providing strong incentives to businesses,” Toumbourou said.

The other two commitments agreed by ministers at the meeting held on Friday, 21 October 2022 included:

  1. To work collectively to achieve a national target to protect and conserve 30% of Australia’s landmass and 30% of Australia’s marine areas by 2030.
  2. To note the Commonwealth’s intention to establish a national nature repair market and agreed to work together to make nature positive investments easier, focusing on a consistent way to measure and track biodiversity.

The National Waste Policy Action Plan will be expanded over the coming year to strengthen Australia’s efforts towards the 2030 targets.

Image credit: Khirisutchalual

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