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Gutwein Fails to Act on Recycling Crisis

8 Aug 2019

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson

Last Friday, the company that collects recyclables from five southern councils, SKM Recycling, was declared insolvent. Without an immediate intervention, this means kerbside recycling from those councils will be destined for landfill.

Despite southern Tasmanian councils being amidst an evolving recycling crisis, the Environment Minister, Peter Gutwein, refused to take immediate statewide action to help them.

This has the potential to be an environmental, financial and operational disaster for local councils. It would cripple people’s confidence in the value of recycling.

Recycling is an essential part of tackling the planet’s growing waste problem.  After reducing and reusing, recycling is the last step in the war on waste, before items end up on the tip.

The Hodgman Government has stalled for over five years on bringing in a statewide waste levy, supported by all councils. The government’s Draft Waste Strategy plans to continue to delay it further until 2021.

On ABC radio today, Sorell Mayor, Kerry Vincent, called on the government to prioritise a statewide Container Deposit Scheme. The Environment Minister must act on the state’s unfolding waste crisis by bringing forward their planned cash for containers scheme and waste levy.

As more countries follow China’s effective ban on importing contaminated recycling materials, the recycling industry is hurting worldwide.  Tasmania has no capacity to recycle plastics and paper on-island. We desperately need to put downward pressure on landfill, and to generate statewide funding for a Tasmanian recycling industry. 

Tasmanians want to fight the war on waste. Minister Gutwein must act now on our recycling crisis, and bring forward the statewide waste levy and a container deposit scheme.