CANBERRA, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister (PM) Scott Morrison has committed to significantly boosting the nation's recycling capacity.
Speaking at the National Plastics Summit in Canberra on Monday, Morrison announced a three-point plan to ensure that Australia's waste is not "exported to someone's village or waterway."
"Through months of consultation with industry, consumers, retailers and brand-owners, the one issue everyone comes back to is the need to increase demand for recycled products," he said.
"Different countries have tried this in different ways but, true to our principles, my government will not take a top-down, tax and punish approach to this. We think Australians will respond to better incentives."
He flagged changes to the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, under which all procurements undertaken by the government would be compelled to consider environmental sustainability.
"We've used commonwealth procurement policy to energise our indigenous businesses and had tremendous success -- and we will do the same with Australian recycled product," Morrison said.
"Plastic that is designed effectively, used correctly, recycled reliably, and remanufactured creatively can stay in the economy almost indefinitely with little environmental impact," he say.
"But too often plastic products are not designed to be re-used or recycled."
Australia exported almost 4.5 million tonnes of waste overseas in financial year 2018/19 at a cost of 2.8 billion Australian dollars (1.8 billion U.S. dollars).
Infrastructure Australia in February identified waste and recycling management as one of five high priority initiatives.