Recycling and Waste Management – What Are the Laws?

There are various policies governing waste and resource recovery in Australia. This includes the National Waste Policy, which outlines roles and responsibilities for collective action by businesses, communities, governments and individuals. There are also policies at the local and state level, which are often tailored to respond to particular issues in a region. In Queensland, we have the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011, which contains a suite of measures aimed at encouraging recycling and reducing waste generation and landfill disposal. The Act outlines offences for mismanagement of waste as well as requiring government bodies to have waste management plans in place.

Queensland’s Resource Recovery and Waste Strategy

With increasing demand from the community for action on issues such as plastic pollution, new strategies are also being introduced around the country to further improve recycling and reuse of resources across industries. In March 2018, the Queensland Government announced a comprehensive new strategy to increase recycling and recovery. The goal is to:
  • Provide the resource recovery and waste sector with the policy certainty that has been lacking, leading to significant underinvestment in new and expanded resource recovery infrastructure in Queensland.
  • Prioritise waste types for action and identify key re-investment opportunities.
It is underpinned by a waste disposal levy aimed at encouraging businesses to find ways to recycle their waste rather than sending it to landfill. For example, there are a variety of special recycling plants that accept plastics for reuse.

Levy Rates

The levy is set to come in place on 1 July 2019. Below are the proposed rates which are set to increase by $5 on 1 July every year.
  • $75 per tonne of general waste (includes municipal solid waste, commercial and industrial, construction and demolition)
  • $155 per tonne of regulated waste: category 1 (includes pharmaceuticals, oxidising agents, cyanides, fire debris, mercury, organic solvents and more)
  • $105 per tonne of regulated waste: category 2 (includes sewage, tyres, asbestos, acids, animal effluent, grease trap and food processing waste, lead, mineral oils and more)
There are exemptions for things like waste resulting from natural disasters and certain types of lawfully managed and transported asbestos.

How Businesses Can Respond to Waste Policy

It may soon be more economical to find ways to recycle or reduce waste than to take it to landfill. There are many organisations that recycle materials for a range of industries, for example, repurposing construction waste. At Dolphin Plastics & Packaging, we have a recycling and pelletising machine to recycle and incorporate any waste material produced into other goods to minimise our contribution to landfill. Our recycling percentage is between 60%-90% of all waste. Reusing this recycled material ensures materials are manufactured from sustainable raw materials and there is a significant reduction in our environmental footprint. We also have an on-site recycling program, where any plastic materials that cannot be processed through our on-site recycling facility get sent to a recycling plant in Brisbane. There they use the recycled material to manufacture a wide range of different plastic products.

Need Sustainable Plastic Solutions?

Dolphin Plastics & Packaging is a leading flexible packaging manufacturer based in Queensland. We are committed to producing sustainable plastic packaging solutions for organisations in a variety of industries across Queensland and down the east coast of Australia. To find out more about how we can help you, call Dolphin Plastics & Packaging today on (07) 5610 5278 or contact us online.