Australia to create nationwide circular economy

25 June 2024 15:12

Sydney - Australian environmental ministers have proposed a nationwide circular economy for the country that is the size of a continent. The proposal envisions easier and more aggressive recycling of plastic, lithium batteries, and other products that otherwise would require virgin materials.

The Australian Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek together with Australia’s Environment Ministers in Sydney took steps towards a nationwide circular economy in the country that is the size of a continent. 

The ministers agreed to increase Australia’s circularity rate by 2030, according to the Environment Ministers Meeting communique issued on June 21, setting aggressive goals for recycling plastic, lithium batteries, and other products.

The new National Circular Economy Framework “will drive a faster transition to a circular economy and ensure efficient use of key resources and materials in Australia. Ministers noted particular opportunities exist in the manufacturing, food and agriculture, resources and critical minerals sectors, and the built environment,” the communique said.

The circular economy proposal was part of a broader environmental protection agenda.

By 2030, the ministers contended, the country would also conserve 30 percent of its landmass and 30 percent of its marine zones. The ministers have sought public input on how to conserve around 60 million hectares to reach their target of protected land.

Lastly, they agreed to restore degraded environments, better control invasive species, including feral cats and goats, and adopt measures to minimize the impacts of climate change and manmade challenges on the environment, with a specific focus on preventing new extinctions of indigenous flora and fauna.

“I’m committed to not only protecting nature but leaving it better off for future generations,” said Australian Minister for Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek in a statement. “We’re working together to stop lithium batteries ending up in landfills and causing dangerous fires. We’re making recycling easier for families and businesses. We’re driving a circular economy in partnership with governments and businesses.” ce/jd