Greens plan to tackle recycling crisis on multiple fronts

Lismore candidate Sue Higginson's Greens Party is not a fan of the waste-to-energy project being championed by Tenterfield Shire Council. Photo by Tony Grant.
Lismore candidate Sue Higginson's Greens Party is not a fan of the waste-to-energy project being championed by Tenterfield Shire Council. Photo by Tony Grant.

The Greens have called for 100 per cent of the waste levy, or more than $2.1 billion state-wide over the next four years, to be diverted into tackling the waste crisis at a ‘Save our Recycling’ summit organised by Local Government NSW earlier this month.

Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment Cate Faehrmann said in a statement that the NSW government currently spends just 16 per cent of the waste levy on tackling waste, with the rest of the money diverted to general revenue.

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“It was particularly disappointing that the Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton refused to commit one extra cent of the waste levy to tackling NSW’s growing recycling crisis,” Ms Faehrmann said.

“This is despite our recyclables being stockpiled around the state and local government desperate for assistance. Local councils were pleading with the political parties represented there today to commit to investing all of the waste levy on waste management.

“The Greens recognise we need a radical overhaul of how we manage waste in NSW. Our goal should be a circular economy and we have a plan to get there.

“The waste levy came in two decades ago. Imagine if we had invested every cent from day one on building new industries to recycle more of our waste and to make more products recyclable in the first place."

The Greens Zero Waste: A Transition Plan to a Circular Economy includes:

  • dedicating 100 per cent of the revenue raised by the Waste and Environment Levy into fixing the growing waste crisis, through waste reduction and domestic recycling capacity;
  • increasing the Waste and Environment Levy bu five per cent per annum, as an incentive to minimising landfill;
  • establishing an independent NSW Waste and Resource Recovery Commissioner;
  • returning all kerbside collection and landfill management to public ownership and co-ordination;
  • phasing out all single-use plastics products by 2023, including an immediate ban on easily-replaceable products like plastic bags, polystyrene food and drink containers, plastic straws and microbeads;
  • introducing strict regulations requiring all packaging by 2023 to be recyclable, compostable or reusable;
  • mandating statewide kerbside organic waste collection;
  • banning all waste-to-energy schemes;
  • holding a moratorium on new landfill sites;
  • investing in community education and awareness raising.

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