Parliament’s Environment, Resources and Development Committee is about to conduct a recycling industry inquiry.
They will investigate and report on the current crisis in waste management that exists in South Australia.
They will obviously consider how China’s National Sword Policy has impacted on us. Accordingly, they will explore how South Australia has responded to China’s recent restriction on its importation of recyclable material.
They will however also examine current policy and legislative frameworks that govern resource recovery in this State. This will hopefully examine the potential for desirable reforms.
I suggest that the problem is not China Sword. Not directly at least. All China Sword has done is highlight a structural deficiency in our waste handling process.
The structural deficiency in our waste handling process needs to be addressed.
Rather than focus on what we can’t control, we must look into what we can control. This requires looking at what we do and what we don’t do. It requires us to determine what we can do better. It also requires us to recognise what we should stop doing.
The Environment, Resources and Development Committee will surely look at the ability of our industry to innovate. Developing an industry capable of achieving the much heralded circular economy is essential.
Whatever happens with the Recycling Industry Inquiry, we must change our kerbside collection system.
We must review the efficiency and effectiveness of the kerbside-collection three bin system. This is the foundation of our system. Get this wrong and we will not solve any problems.
Contamination of the yellow bin collections is the reason China is rejecting our waste. If we do not address this contamination we are expecting our industry to do what China can’t or won’t.
The blue bin goes to land fill and is the dearest to process. Because it is collected weekly, it encourages incorrect use.
I therefore confirm again my belief that we must focus on what we put in our bins. The green bin should be a weekly collection. If it were, items incorrectly put in the blue bin (red in some councils) would be appropriately redirected to the green bin. If it grows it goes.