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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 August 2018) . . Page.. 3398 ..


The working group is also exploring ways to ensure that the ACT government’s own procurement practices support the plastic recycling markets. We are investigating options for buying items such as bollards, benches or even asphalt made from recycled plastic products. While soft plastic recycling opportunities are being more fully explored, the government encourages the Canberra community to take personal action. Again, this is consistent with the waste hierarchy: avoid and reduce waste, reuse and recycle.

To support this, the territory delivers ongoing education, as has been mentioned, about reducing, reusing and recycling. Some examples include local school students and residents seeing how Canberra manages recycling by visiting the recycling discovery hub at the Hume materials recovery facility. The hub has recently been upgraded, and over 1,000 people have taken a tour since it relaunched in April.

Despite opposition from the Canberra Liberals, the government recently implemented the popular and effective container deposit scheme. The CDS aims to facilitate better recycling behaviours. It will support individuals and community groups to reduce litter and actively participate in recycling by placing a value on many single-use drink containers.

The CDS commenced, as has been noted, at the end of June this year, and we recently celebrated the millionth container milestone—one million containers. This clearly demonstrates that Canberrans are keen to do the right thing and keep plastics out of landfill. It also clearly demonstrates how out of step the opposition were with the Canberra community to oppose such an important and popular recycling and litter reducing initiative.

The government is also actively engaged at the national level. We are working collaboratively with other jurisdictions to find ways to phase out problematic and unnecessary plastics. The last meeting of the environment ministers endorsed a target of 100 per cent of Australian packaging being recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 or earlier. Along with other states and territories the ACT is working with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation to explore potential solutions to achieve these ambitious targets.

The ACT is also a member of the Queensland-led interjurisdictional working group to work with retailers to introduce a voluntary phase out of heavyweight single-use boutique plastic bags. The government has developed new waste regulatory frameworks and is now implementing the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Act 2016 to achieve better waste management and resource recovery. The regulatory framework responds to our need to improve our performance and meet community expectations about reducing waste generation, increasing recycling and resource recovery and improving the overall management of waste practices in the ACT.

Knowledge about what is happening to waste is critical to the development of appropriate waste policy and processes and devising waste reduction strategies. This legislation will enable the government to gather data on waste so we can better understand what happens to our waste and respond accordingly.


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