Waste and Recycling Plan

  • Labor’s plan will reduce waste, boost recycling, improve the health of our environment, underwrite innovative manufacturing and create sustainable jobs.

  • We will use the Government’s purchasing power to help drive an increase in demand for recycled materials. This will boost recycling rates, reduce waste in our environment, lower the emissions caused by landfill, and create sustainable manufacturing opportunities and jobs right here in Australia.

Why we need this

The Liberals have spent the last decade seeking to paper over the waste crisis in Australia.

While the Prime Minister claimed his government would be a global leader in addressing the scourge of ocean plastic, the reality is that plastic waste has increased and plastic recycling rates have fallen. To date the Morrison Government’s policies have resulted in the opening of less than a quarter of the infrastructure projects they promised. In 2021, the CSIRO released the National Circular Economy Roadmap, noting that Australia’s recycling sector currently generates 9.2 jobs per 10,000 tonnes of waste recovered, compared with only 2.8 jobs for the same amount of waste sent to landfill. The Roadmap said “if Australia increased its recycling rate by 5% this would add an estimated $1 billion to Australia’s GDP.”

The details

An Albanese Labor Government will lead the national shift to sustainable procurement. In conjunction with Labor’s Future Made in Australia Policy we will task the Future Made in Australia Office with:

  • Strengthening the existing environmental sustainability provision in the government’s purchasing and contracting rules (the Commonwealth Procurement Rules), with a view to increasing the use of recycled content.

  • Supporting industry to increase the use of recycled content in government projects.

This will mean more recycled material gets used in big government contracts, driving up demand for recycled content and making it easier and cheaper for the private sector too.

Labor will also invest $60 million into additional recycling infrastructure through the Recycling Modernisation Fund.

Addressing our waste crisis

Despite the best efforts of Australian households and the hard work and investment of the resource management sector, Australia’s waste crisis continues to deepen.  

Labor created Australia’s first National Waste Policy and initiated the product stewardship framework that showed what could be achieved. We will pick up the delayed and missing pieces in the National Waste Policy Action Plan, work with industry to improve arrangements for key materials like plastics and packaging, and lead collaboration with local, State, and Territory governments to make greater progress in standardising high-quality kerbside collection, phasing out harmful single-use plastics, and harmonising state-based container deposit schemes.

Labor’s plan will reduce waste, boost recycling, improve the health of our environment, underwrite innovative manufacturing and create sustainable jobs.