In recent years, most of our recycling (paper and cardboard, plastic and metal products) were being sent to China for manufacturing.
In 2017, China implemented their National Sword Policy which has placed much tighter restrictions on unsorted and contaminated (incorrect/dirty) items in recycling. It's very important that our recycling is clean so it can be sent for manufacturing in Australia and overseas.
The impact of China's policy change has been felt worldwide and driven significant changes in the recycling market, including reducing demand for some materials and lowering commodity prices.
We know that sending recyclables to China was not ideal, but unfortunately, it had been the only option for Councils like ours to maintain a viable recycling service.
While we are now faced with the challenge of adapting to these changes in the market, there are also many opportunities.
We are hopeful that these challenges will create support for new industry, technology, and innovation within Australia, along with better recycling practices.
We all need to think about the products we are purchasing, how much household waste we generate and how we could avoid creating waste altogether.