- Created on Monday, 13 February 2012 20:27
Official claims of Australia’s packaging recycling rate are significantly overstated, environmentalists said today, as state and federal ministers commence consultations for a national bottle and can refund or other new recycling scheme.
“Recent industry and government data shows a black hole in reports from the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC). We estimate over 320,000tonnes of used beverage container packaging is missing, meaning the APC is even further away from achieving its target of 65% which was supposed to be reached in 2010,” said Jeff Angel National Convenor of the Alliance of 17 environment groups.
“The data confirms beverage containers are our biggest problem with only 38% recycled – some 10% less than previously claimed. This means 8billion containers are being littered or landfilled in Australia every year (or 21million per day) – a dreadful waste. The new information comes at a time when state and federal governments have released a review (RIS) into options for more packaging recycling and are holding public consultation sessions.”
An example of the APC data problem is with glass. Its 2010 report shows 991,000t of all glass packaging while the PSF industry data shows 961,454 of beverage containers - but beverage containers are 80% of all glass packaging. So where's the other 200,000tonnes missing from the APC data?
“The only policy that will guarantee a quick and enduring improvement is a container deposit system which can reach 80% recovery in a few short years and provide jobs, much reduced litter and support for hundreds of drop-off centres and only cost half a cent a container,” Mr Angel said.
Ministers are expected to meet mid-year to decide on a new approach.
The data is drawn from a new report from Industry Edge OMG Equilibrium commissioned by the peak packaging industry group, Packaging Stewardship Forum (PSF) and the environment ministers’ review. The PSF report contains more accurate information on consumption (an acknowledged weakness in APC reports). The recycling data is taken from the Regulatory Impact Statement into Packaging (RIS) and the APC as the PSF report we believe includes material collected at Material Recovery Facilities but potentially stockpiled at reprocessors, and can’t be counted in any one year figure. The RIS and APC correctly excluded stockpiles. Nor can use of glass as roadbase be considered as recycling - it is a different category of one-off downcycling.