The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has celebrated last week’s ruling by the Federal Court against the Northern Territory Container Tax—the AFGC’s bête noir—by announcing a A$100m industry-led recycling scheme and releasing data to show that Australia’s recycling rates are continuing to grow.
The last couple of months have seen a flurry of declarations by the AFGC against the NT’s policy to implement a container tax. The court’s decision that the scheme “substantially contravened the Mutual Regulation Act 1992” delighted the industry body, which claimed there were cheaper, more industry-friendly solutions to reduce waste and boost recycling. The territory will appeal the court’s finding.
In the wake of the ruling, Gary Dawson, chief executive of the AFGC, has announced a new initiative that sets out to make it “easier and more convenient than ever to recycle packaging.”
He said: “Australians are great recyclers, but we believe we can accelerate these improvements. That’s why the industry is ready to roll out a A$100m national recycling scheme, the National Bin Network, that builds on the practical, targeted initiatives that we know from experience... do work.”
Dawson also promised that the scheme would deliver for the environment while being fully industry funded with no taxpayer input.
To go with the announcement, the AFGC published a report by waste analyst Industry Edge to claim that over 42,000 tonnes of drinks containers were recycled in 2011-12 compared to the previous year.
Auf wiedersehen PET
It also stated that the volume of PET on the market has been reduced by nearly 11% as a result of the lightweighting of PET drinks bottles. Moreover, 60% of all PET drinks bottles are now being recycled, according to the study.
Competition in kerbside recycling has strengthened and the reported prices being paid to councils for collected recyclables has reached record highs in some states, it claimed, adding that this has come as a result of greater efficiency from mature material recovery facilities, effective householder participation and the impact of new investment and technology.