Australia’s waste disposal crisis is set to worsen with other Asian countries following in China’s footsteps and banning imports of recyclables.
A meeting of state and federal government representatives on April 27 has set the goal of making all Australian packaging reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025.
The recent decision by China to stop accepting low value and contaminated materials for recycling has caused the world price for them to crash. It threatens a crisis for local governments across Australia, which may be forced to send to landfill the stuff that people have sorted and put in their recycling bins.
In the 2009 kids film Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, a joke revolves around the illusion that waste products can be sent to a dump called Mount Leftovers. The joke turns dangerous when the dump suddenly bursts and spews forth.
Australia has been treating China as its Mount Leftovers for decades — 76% of paper and 88% of plastics went to China in 2011.