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The problem with Plastics – National Plastics Plan

These are the cold hard facts about plastics in Australia.

  • Australians used 3.4 million tonnes of plastics in 2018-2019.
  • One million tonnes of Australia’s annual plastic consumption is single-use plastic 84% of plastic is sent to landfill and only 13% is recycled.
  • Every year in Australia approximately 130,000 tonnes of plastic leaks into the marine environment.
  • Our use of plastic is increasing and across the world will double by 2040.
  • By 2050, it is estimated that plastic in the oceans will outweigh fish.

These are terrifying statistics and will surely make most Australians feel slightly guilty for contributing to the problem. 

The good news is that the Australian Government has identified the undeniable impact that Plastics have on our environment and the future of our planet. In March 2021 the Australian Government released the National Plastics Plan. The Plan includes an action for government to work with industry to phase out certain  problematic plastics in line with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisations’ (APCO) work with industry to-date on problematic and unnecessary plastics.
The main outline of the plan is to
  • reduce plastic waste and increase recycling rates
  • find alternatives to the plastics we don’t need
  • reduce the amount of plastics impacting our environment.

Darren Kindleysides from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said national agreement on the types of single-use plastics covered by the ban would give businesses certainty and ease consumer confusion. “This is welcome progress on these killer plastics and will help to ease the pressure on our marine wildlife”. he said. “We would urge our governments to take the further step of implementing national mandatory bans to ensure the good progress in some jurisdictions continues.”

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