The Federal Government is calling for public submissions so Australia can Rethink Waste

Do you think more should be done to better manage Australia’s waste?

Yes – So do we! So we welcome the Federal Government’s inquiry into Waste and Recycling.

Our government would like to hear from interested people, organisations and agencies working to reduce, reuse and recycle waste in Australia. It’s important to take this opportunity to let politicians know the community care and that we need real actions to minimise and better manage waste. So now it’s time to put what you think in writing and have a voice by telling the government that they must take strong action in the war against waste. And this is where you come in…

Making a submission is quite simple, you just need to write what you think and send an email with your thoughts on any of these points

  • Industrial, commercial and domestic waste;
  • Waste in waterways and oceans;
  • Landfill reduction; and
  • Other related matters related to waste.

You can list in point form, or you can write as much detail as you wish. Whatever you’re comfortable writing is fine. You might know of a great initiative elsewhere in the world that Australia ought to implement. Maybe you want more convenient refillable containers, or you would happily sort into more recycling bins, if it would help with recycling processes. Anything you want to say about waste is worth noting.  Each and every submission will be read, so don’t hold back, use your voice.

More information about the Inquiry into Australia’s Waste Management and Recycling Industries is here

How do I write this submission?

It’s up to you. Write in the style that you are most comfortable with, there is no right or wrong.. You can list a few points or say as much as you like, there is no word limit. Here are a few examples to help:

Style A) Succinct

Australia should have a national container deposit scheme

There needs to be extended producer responsibility where retailers and manufacturers are accountable for the waste created from the products they sell

Products need to be designed for repair, rather than planned obsolescence (ie. Designed not to last)

Style B) Suggest a practical solution or refer to existing examples 

Balloon releases ought to be banned. They are guaranteed pollution, becoming litter in waterways, oceans and land.

Style C) Explanatory and a little creative

Plastic bags should not be given out for free, and nor should a retailer profit the regulatory sale of thick plastic bags.  A levy from the sale of plastic bags should be allocated to an Environment fund. This funding should be distributed to support litter clean ups, community groups reducing waste, education, and innovative measures to reduce and better manage waste.

Tell the government exactly what you think and how you feel, have fun with it, if you want to.

Step 1. State your interest in the review with comments like:

My interest in this waste review is…

  • because of Australia’s increasing demand for more landfill
  • that there is too much unnecessary waste from single-use items
  • I am a conscious consumer and want to live a more sustainable lifestyle with less waste.
  • Pick one point or more points, list your own reasons and start with why you care

A response in your own words is preferred, because this is a personal submission, so reword or elaborate the points to make this a submission from you.

Step 2. Issues of concern to you or any initiatives that should be considered

List what matters to you. There is no limit to the number of points you can make and the more you add, the better.  Some suggestions, but please list whatever resonates with you and anything else you would like to add

  • Focus on materials to transition to a circular economy
  • Proceeds from the sale of plastic bags to be directed to an environmental fund, which supports…
  • Packaging should only be allowable if there is a facility in Australia to recycle it
  • Polystyrene packaging should be banned
  • You could list any other packaging you hate – like takeaway packaging, or other food you may buy – state how much you hate this, and that take-out stores should always provided recycling facilities.
  • Products should only be labelled as recyclable, if they can be recycled by everyone in Australia / Target of 100% recycling of packaging – not lip service with recyclable claims / accessible recycling for all Australians
  • The government should not allow private enterprise to lock local councils (i.e. the community) into contracts to guarantee them a supply of waste for feedstock, in any waste to energy facilities that incinerate or gasify waste. This will potentially detract from efforts to appropriately divert organics, recyclables and initiatives to reduce waste.
  • Have a greater emphasis on diverting all organic and recyclable materials from landfill waste (This will reduce landfill by more than half)
  • Products need to be designed for repair / no more planned obsolescence / parts & instruction available for repair
  • National container deposit scheme
  • All business to have a recycling service – hospitality / take away to make this available to the public – their customers
  • Support of refillable bottling & packaging schemes
  • Public awareness and transparency – the public want to know what happens to waste that they dispose of

Step 3. Submit

Submission are due Friday 31 January 2020

Remember this is your chance to have a voice, so submit any concerns and solutions. Please share this with anyone who has something to say about waste.I f there is something you would like to forward to us about this inquiry please email info@zerowastevictoria.org.au 

About The Author

As president of Zero Waste Victoria, Kirsty Bishop-Fox leads advocacy initiatives to create a world with less waste. She is a sustainability consultant and the founder of Sustainability Pathways, where she works with businesses, councils and community to promote a sustainability philosophy towards waste avoidance and environmental responsibility.

23 thoughts on “The Federal Government is calling for public submissions so Australia can Rethink Waste

  1. My interest in this waste review is based on the fact that I am a conscious consumer and want to live a more sustainable lifestyle with less waste.

    In my view, products need to be designed for repair, rather than planned obsolescence (ie. Designed not to last)

    My main focus items are:
    1) Compost should include fruit and vegetable scraps to prevent these going to landfill
    2) Households should be charged based on the landfill and garbage they produce – there should be a minimum allowance and over = cost to consumer.
    3) Single use plastic should be banned – no exceptions!
    4) Polystyrene packaging should be banned
    Balloon releases ought to be banned. They are guaranteed pollution, becoming litter in waterways, oceans and land.
    5) The government should not allow private enterprise to lock local councils (i.e. the community) into contracts to guarantee them a supply of waste for feedstock, in any waste to energy facilities that incinerate or gasify waste. This will potentially detract from efforts to appropriately divert organics, recyclables and initiatives to reduce waste.
    6) Support of refillable bottling & packaging schemes
    7) Transparency of where the waste goes, how is is processed etc
    8) Small wrapped goods such as ‘share packs’ should be banned!

    1. Thank you for inviting public submissions
      I live in Adelaide, and as a member of a facebook group which shares ideas on the topic (Reduce Recycle Radelaide!) I am trying to better manage my household waste.
      One simple thing – could we standardise bin colours? Even within Adelaide I find different coloured bins. Oddly enough the worst are often the council bins in parks; I understand that it may be convenient or less expensive to put, say, a large green coloured bin in the playground for landfill but if that’s meant to be organics at home then its difficult to teach children and train adults.
      If we all had Green lidded bins for compostable and fixed a standard for others I am sure there would be more compliance.
      By all means put up the rates then apply a discount if my bar-coded landfill bin only goes out once a month. That’s better than an extra charge for frequent use which is likely to lead to people being careless with their sorting.
      In public areas I would like to see more of the sorts of bins one finds at the airport – slots for paper waste which can’t easily be used for anything else, small round apertures large enough to take cans but not coffee or milkshake cups for bins accepting drink containers. I liked the system I’ve seen at a couple of shopping centres (Moree NSW, I think Hollywood SA) where there is an automatic station for deposit containers. Importantly the one at Moree just gives, I think, vouchers for the adjacent supermarket, or a choice of charities – so it doesn’t hold cash. And people like me with scant numbers of refundables who don’t find it worthwhile to go to the recylcling centre or sort deposit bottles from other recylcables might do it for a charity.
      I think its going to be difficult to abolish things like takouts but would like to see city based food outlets such as MacDonalds obliged to provide reusable utensils for those dining in.
      I would like to see supermarkets obliged to accept excess packaging back at the point of sale. That is, if they insist on placing 3 zucchini on a foam tray and encasing it with plastic, I should be able to unwrap them before I leave the store. I think that might make them think twice about which foods need cushioning – root vegetables and zucchini do not.
      I don’t think national rules are the way to go with regard to single use plastic. There’s a drought. A very rural town with no recycling facilities will find it expensive to either wash reusables or truck recyclables. Not everyone remembers that if disposables are going to landfill its better to use PLASTIC which doesn’t degrade to carbon dioxide and methane, which is what happens if plant-based paper/cellophane etc is buried.
      yours faithfully
      Diane Campbell 185 Lyons Rd Dernancourt SA 5075

  2. This is what matters to me.
    No plastic bags, straws, beer rings for 6 pack or beers. No excuses
    Food waste and scraps used for green compost bins this is happening with some councils
    Clean up the beaches, lakes, rivers and streams each local member who is elected nominate must nominate a council day to help clean and everyone to register. Like that of an election
    More biodegradable products to become more affordable for people
    Products to be labeled 100% recyclable, 50% 30% and so forth
    No more plastic bottles

  3. Please take this opportunity to tell the federal government that waste to energy incineration is not the solution for Australia’s waste management. That is what this inquiry is all about…manufacturing consent for “innovative technologies” for energy recovery and plastic to fuel, without any consideration of the need for an urgent cap on plastic production, support for reuse, composting and zero waste policies. Recycling is not the answer to our waste management crisis. We need closed loop systems for a circular economy and that means genuine recycling ‘product for same product’ to replace raw materials extraction and not to enable the plasticising of the circular economy. Victoria is vulnerable while so many incinerator projects are being fast tracked right now. Now is the time for you to tell the government that we can’t burn our way out of climate change! For references visit the Zero Waste OZ website.

  4. I am a mother who hopes and prays her child and grandchild can see animals in their natural habitat not just zoos and picture books

    School zone areas need to be free of candy muffin cupcake museli bar etc wrappers. Single use packaged snack item is always littered around parks after celebration and around schools making their way in waterways. Transfer to containers or teach children to dispose of packaging responsibly

    All packaging needs to mandatory made hemp or corn based plastic that biodegrades and is made of waste organic material

    Hospital suppliers should be chosen based on who can reduce or recycle immense amount of waste created to maintain hygiene. Best practice again is to have conpostable single use items

    Plastic grocery bags ban need to be enforced in small businesses and big chains should stop having fruit and veggie bags that is plastic.

    Migrants should be taught about ways to reduce waste and so should school kids. What is recyclable, how to use green bins etc
    BAN balloons and all decoration single use items and most products sold it novelty $2 shops that is flimsy and breaks easily
    Tax or charge people bases on their bin size
    Reduce size of bins making then easier to clean and more accountable and noticeable waste we create
    BAN plastic bin liners they are not needed . they do not allow organic biodegradable waste to be composted

    Animal poo can be picked up in paper.
    Using plastic to pick up dog poo or hold your rubbish guarantees that it is preserved for hundreds of more years in landfill, do we really need that?!

    Council provides industry cinpostable plastic in dog parks but most people use it to bin their pet poo.

  5. My name is Gabi Kinsley of South Australia and I am writing a submission as I am very concerned for our waste of virgin resources and recyclable resources; too much is being taken from the environment when there are already many recyclable resources available, and too much is going to landfill. We must work quickly towards a circular economy, and consume less.

    Here are some ideas (in no particular order) inspired by Zero Waste Victoria blogger and my own ideas with the limited time I have in my first week back at work after materity leave.

    – Australia should have a national container deposit scheme.

    – Disposable coffee cups should only be compostable and only available if where its purchased has a green bin. If not, only reusable dine-in or BYO cups should be permitted.

    – Green bins should be available wherever food is sold. This would ensure food waste from stores, kitchens, tables, etc, is collected and composted.

    – Recycling Bins should be next to every Landfill Bin and clearly labelled with what goes in it.

    – Which Bin education should be increased with fines if caught using bins incorrectly. The signs on bins should avoid fines.

    – There needs to be extended producer responsibility where retailers and manufacturers are accountable for the waste created from the products they sell

    – Products need to be designed for repair, rather than planned obsolescence (ie. Designed not to last)

    – Balloon releases ought to be banned. They are guaranteed pollution, becoming litter in waterways, oceans and land.

    – Helium should be banned for use in balloons and reserved for medical procedures OR have a higher tax due to being a finite resource

    – Plastic glitter should be banned.

    – Plastic bags, should not be given out for free, and nor should a retailer profit the regulatory sale of thick plastic bags. A levy from the sale of plastic bags should be allocated to an Environment fund. This funding should be distributed to support litter clean ups, community groups reducing waste, education, and innovative measures to reduce and better manage waste.

    – Plastic produce bags e.g. fruit and veg bags should not be given out for free. Reusable produce bags are widely available now and can be sold by fruit and veg sellers. Compostable BioBags or paper bags could be available and should be sold for a small fee e.g. 10 cents each to cover cost of the bags not increase the price of produce as it is unfair to those who BYO bags

    – Fruit and veg that does not need to be wrapped in plastic to prolong its life and to reduce food waste should not be wrapped.

    – Packaging should only be allowable if there is a facility in Australia to recycle it. Where it can be recycled should be on the packaging or with a QR code directing to a website with details.

    – Polystyrene packaging should be banned. This includes food packaging and packaging of electronics, etc, that come into Australia from O.S.

    – The government should not allow private enterprise to lock local councils (i.e. the community) into contracts to guarantee them a supply of waste for feedstock, in any waste to energy facilities that incinerate or gasify waste. This will potentially detract from efforts to appropriately divert organics, recyclables and initiatives to reduce waste.

    – Have a greater emphasis on diverting all organic and recyclable materials from landfill waste (This will reduce landfill by more than half)

    – Support of refillable bottling & packaging schemes

    – Public awareness and transparency – the public want to know what happens to waste that they dispose of

    – Medical waste needs to be reduced e.g. sterilising and reusing stainless steel scissors instead of landfill which is currently happening in many hospitals.

    – E-waste recycling programs like through Unplug N Drop to ERA (Electronics Recycling Australia) SA need to be in each state and territory in Australia.

    – Products that can be safely made from recycled plastic but are using virgin should be taxed higher so those using recycled plastic which can be dearer have a better chance in the market / incentives for using recycled plastic instead of virgin

      1. Most families in our country had little or no waste until the 60’s & 70’s. Times were tougher for the generations before us. They made more things themselves and usually ate what they were served. money was tighter. People before this date did not live off credit cards like there was no tomorrow. They scrimped and saved to provide for their families and valued everything! What has happened? There are thousands of examples that can be forwarded to improve the wasteful say in which our world now live! The best solution would be to follow examples of successful countries like Sweden. Why? Because Our country is behind the eight ball on waste!
        To fix it we need to follow proven strategies that do work!
        Only 1% of Sweden’s trash is sent to landfills. By burning trash, another 52% is converted into energy and the remaining 47% gets recycled. The amount of energy generated from waste alone provides heating to one million homes and electricity to 250,000. …
        Sweden was quick to identify a growing demand, we should be following their lead and waste management methods now! Stop putting your head in the sand Victoria and support Australia by putting your best foot forward to create a better planet for everyone!

        Kind regards
        Margaret Alicia Barwood

  6. Most families in our country had little or no waste until the 60’s & 70’s. Times were tougher for the generations before us. They made more things themselves and usually ate what they were served. money was tighter. People before this date did not live off credit cards like there was no tomorrow. They scrimped and saved to provide for their families and valued everything! What has happened? There are thousands of examples that can be forwarded to improve the wasteful say in which our world now live! The best solution would be to follow examples of successful countries like Sweden. Why? Because Our country is behind the eight ball on waste!
    To fix it we need to follow proven strategies that do work!
    Only 1% of Sweden’s trash is sent to landfills. By burning trash, another 52% is converted into energy and the remaining 47% gets recycled. The amount of energy generated from waste alone provides heating to one million homes and electricity to 250,000. …
    Sweden was quick to identify a growing demand, we should be following their lead and waste management methods now! Stop putting your head in the sand Victoria and support Australia by putting your best foot forward to create a better planet for everyone!

    Kind regards
    Margaret Alicia Barwood

  7. To whom it may concern,

    As an individual and a small business owner, the weight of our environmental issues weighs on my shoulders daily. The environment is at the forefront of my mind when I make any decision regarding how I spend my money. I will always choose ethical and sustainable whilst consciously consuming. I feel as though Australians still have a long way to go before they also can shift their habits to be environmentally friendly. I believe this process of shifting habits can be made easier and sped up with the assistance of particular government led schemes and new/adjusted legislation.

    Australia should have a national container deposit scheme: 10c is not enough of a motivation for individuals to collect their containers to return. I believe it could be up to $1. I remember it being closer to that amount in Germany back in 2012 and it was the norm to return your containers. The consumer of these glass, plastic and aluminium containers should have to pay more for them. There should be an additional tax/charge included which you get back when you return the containers to these container return machines/ facilities. The facilities need to be in places like Coles or Woolworths, easily accessible to the majority.

    There needs to be extended producer responsibility where retailers and manufacturers are accountable for the waste created from the products they sell.

    Fashion retailers need to be held accountable for goods purchased and imported from non-ethical sources. There should be minimum requirements before a company is allowed to import clothing including: minimum fair work requirements, ethically and sustainably sourced materials.

    Products need to be designed for repair, rather than planned obsolescence.

    Packaging should only be allowable if there is a facility in Australia to recycle it. Polystyrene packaging should be banned

    Small wrapped goods such as ‘share packs’ should be banned! Schools could be encouraged to have ‘waste free’ days where there are no bins put out and students must take home their waste with them, in order to encourage parents to send packaging free food to school.

    Balloon releases ought to be banned. They are guaranteed pollution, becoming litter in waterways, oceans and land.

    All single use plastic should be banned – no exceptions!

    Animal waste bags in parks should be paper bags instead of plastic.

    Plastic bags should not be given out for free, and nor should a retailer profit the regulatory sale of thick plastic bags. A levy from the sale of plastic bags should be allocated to an Environment fund. This funding should be distributed to support litter clean ups, community groups reducing waste, education, and innovative measures to reduce and better manage waste.

    Next to the Redcycle soft plastic bins out the front of Coles and Woolworths should also be bins to dump electronic waste.

    More enticing rebates for using renewable energy would be beneficial as well as having incentives for purchasing electric/ hybrid modes of transport.

    Reduce size of curb side bins making them easier to clean and people more accountable of the waste they create.

    Compost Green bins should be available wherever food is sold. This would ensure food waste is collected and composted.

    I look forward to seeing a variety of government led initiatives being implemented in the immediate future which will have a long lasting positive impact on our planet.

    Thank you for your time,

    Camille Chesterton

    Rosie Lou Sustainable Stationery
    e. camille@rosielou.com.au

    w. rosielou.com.au

  8. Smaller more accessible recycling centres where there a machines and tools to repurpose plastics ourselves. Like the amazing people behind @realpreciousplastic

  9. My name is Maureen Provis from Queensland.
    I am a passionate believer in education is the key to understanding. If I can show people around my neighbourhood and friends what they can achieve with recycling they feel good that they are helping.
    I would love to talk about how we need to curb the plastic in our environment and water ways.also in our day to day lives.

    Green bin……
    Food waste to be with garden waste. Other councils are doing it ( Penrith nsw) yet it should be congruent with all councils.

    Compost bins should be made available or even on the rates bill.

    Red bin…..

    Singapore burns their rubbish and gas is used as power. Why can’t we?

    Stop using black trays because they’re not recyclable use white.

    I believe most councils say rubbish is supposed to be loose in garbage can but everyone puts it in plastic bags stop that.

    Yellow bin….

    As above yellow bin should be loose and not have plastic bags in it.

    Councils/ States……

    We have REDcycle in Queensland for soft plastics then it goes to Replas in Victoria to me to be made in furniture. I saw some councils on Facebook buying these. We should have a standard approach and should be buying this furniture for public places.

    Waterways……

    There is an invention that are bad goes over a stormwater drain and it collects rubbish before it reaches the ocean. Would it be possible to either have cleanup Australia or surf riders Association and pay them to either clean out the drains or check on them or council.?

    Hospitals……

    Are you so much soft plastic in single use items. It should be mandatory for them to have a bin to put all those items in and sent to REDrecycle .

    Industrial waste….

    Houses or buildings have huge throwaway to landfill. Example extra bricks left over on a new house goes into a skip and thrown into landfill ( I know there’s other companies out there that if you sign them they come and collect )

    Thank you for the letting me give this information hope to see some evidence of this submission has done.
    Just a quick note I believe would love to be the officer that goes and checks these bins to see if everyone is doing the correct thing and educate people if they haven’t thank you again

    Maureen 🌻

  10. The natural world is in crisis and we All need to take responsibility and DO everything possible to protect and restore it. Governments MUST take initiative and LEAD with policy and financial support. Human behaviour has had enormous negative destructive cumulative impact on our most precious planet earth home. Australia is the 2nd driest continent in the world and we are experiencing unprecedented cumulative hot and dry conditions. The time is 100% now to turn this king tide of damage and destruction that our species has caused around.

    Reducing waste and managing it sustainably, responsibly and ethically are fundamental to the protection and restoration of the natural world.
    – single use plastics MUST be banned full stop.
    – excessive unnecessary plastic packaging must be banned.
    – polystyrene must be banned.
    – waste streams must be created for ALL waste to minimise what is ending up in landfill and the wider environment.
    – circular economy/closed loop solutions must be supported and in place to upcycle waste.
    – return and earn schemes must be readily available in regional areas as well as the cities.
    – a range of composting schemes must be in place in all communities.
    – waste from cruise ships, fishing and leisure boats must not be dumped in the oceans.
    – fishing nets must be recovered – not left in the ocean.

    The absolute majority of waste is leaching toxins, chemicals and greenhouse gases into the soil, air, water and us. Wildlife and marine life are ingesting it and being entangled and suffocated by it. 80% of the rubbish in the oceans has come from the land. It is a NO BRAINER that this must stop.

    All life on earth’s natural world home is suffering as a result of our human ACTIONS ; our fear, ignorance, arrogance, greed and complacency. Humans make up .01% of all plant and animal species on earth and we are responsible for it’s unprecedented decline. We are in the 6th mass extinction.

    I am from Sydney and now live in the country. I am very active in my community working for positive proactive solutions to Reduce Waste/Choose Reusables/Recycle/Upcycle sustainable best practices. Our Dungog town and Shire has initiatives well underway taking action : Boomerang Bags, Single Use Plastic Free and Blue Planet Status. This is grassroots community action with a focus on communities working together make change happen : Council, business, schools and households. We are a community in action for environmental sustainability across all environmental issues BUT we need Governments to LEAD with policy change, financial incentive and put bans and consequences in place to support this happening.

    Reducing and capturing waste from landfill and the wider environment needs to be a priority for ALL levels of government. Plastics are made from fossil fuels and chemical compounds, it is carcinogenic and releases carbon and toxin into the soil, air and water in whatever part of the environment it ends up. Plastic doesn’t break down, it breaks up and is causing destruction every single step of the way.

    The natural world is All life on earth’s life support system. We are all interconnected in a web of life that is in crisis because of human impact. Nature’s rich biodiversity is threatened and endangered and we must as a species do everything we can to protect and restore it. The exploitation of the natural world by human greed for money, power, status MUST END. The cost of not doing All we can with a conscience to turn this around is unfathomable and quite frankly not even an option.

    1. Hi Kristy,
      If you would like to request an extension, please email and ask iisr.reps@aph.gov.au
      Alternately you could put something together and send it in so they have it for consideration
      (I know extensions have been granted prior to the closing date, so it is worth a shot)

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