Author: Josh Cole
UPDATE: We are happy to report that Ipswich Council has announced plans to resume recycling following its shock announcement last week that it had been diverting kerbside recycling to landfill. That announcement lead to a widespread community objection and Planet Ark's own statement (below) saying that it was an unfortunate reaction to the challenge posed by China's 'National Sword' policy.
Rising costs and the challenge of contamination were factors in the council's decision, and we hope to see the Queensland State Government assist any councils affected by the issue. Planet Ark has also offered to assist in the education process for Ipswich residents who may need help understanding what they can and can't recycle and how it affects what happens to the material in their bins.
In the interest of transparency you can find our original statement below.
Planet Ark has announced our stance on Ipswich council’s decision to send all residential kerbside recycling to landfill. We think it's an unfortunate reaction to China’s National Sword Policy AKA the ‘China Ban’.
“This is a disappointing decision by the Council and one that doesn’t reflect the trend around Australia to increased government and community support for recycling and sustainability in all its forms”, said Planet Ark CEO Paul Klymenko.
“We are asking the Queensland Government and Ipswich Council to work together to restore recycling services, as the Australian community now sees kerbside recycling as an essential service. For less than a dollar a week Ipswich residents could continue to enjoy the services that they once had.”
For its part, we at Planet Ark are happy to assist the Council in educating the community on how to reduce contamination rates, which were cited by the Council as one reason for its decision.
From plastic bag bans to record recycling levels of products ranging from printer cartridges to paint, Australians are showing they want more recycling, not more valuable resources sitting in landfill.
In fact, Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You website (a one stop shop for household recycling information) had a record 3.6 million visits last year, and the ABC’s War on Waste was watched by over 3.7 million Australians with millions more participating via social media, demonstrating their enthusiasm for recycling.
The waste industry in Australia is in a transition period and alongside NGOs and local, state and federal governments, is working together to develop better markets for recycling, improve recycling infrastructure and improve community education.
We're also calling on the Queensland government to follow the lead of the New South Wales and Victorian governments in providing short term financial support to councils’ recycling services while solutions to the problem are developed and implemented.
What can you do?
Josh comes to Planet Ark after a stint in legal communication and from a background in print journalism. He studied Communications and Media as a mature age student in Wollongong where he re-discovered his love for the natural environment.