Waste Action Plan FAQs

​​​​​​Why do we need this Plan? 

The Plan provides an integrated approach to address the wide range of waste management issues Tasmania is facing. While it aims to address the challenges, it is also importantly seeking to capture opportunities for growth and development within Tasmania.

What are the issues Tasmania is facing?

There are many. The changes to international markets for recycling material have had a significant impact around Australia, especially on local governments. Tasmania also has a large amount of organic waste that is not being used as effectively as it could. There are resources contained in products such as TVs, computers and end-of-life car tyres that could be recovered and reused in some way. Not only are we throwing these resources away and using up our land fill space more quickly, we are missing out on being able to reuse the valuable resources that are in these products.

Is this a Government plan?

Yes and No. The Government has been listening to the issues of the community, local government, and business and industry, and drawn them together in a draft plan. Now, it is time to talk to all those people who have an interest in this to make sure this is the right framework, and that the main priority areas for action have been identified.

There aren’t many actions. Why is that?

The Action Plan can’t address everything straight away. This is about planning ahead, and prioritising the issues that are most important and can be addressed sooner.

Why don’t the actions have who is responsible and how they will be funded?

At this stage of the consultation process, it’s important to make sure the actions are right, before the next stage of determining who, how and when.

How can people make comment on the plan?

Feedback is welcomed from everyone with an interest in this area. People are encouraged to read the information about the Plan and how to make a submission. We can accept all written comments, and they will need to be received by 7 October 2019.

Where can people get further information?

Further information is available about the Waste Action PlanAn email address is provided if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for.

Why are you introducing a container refund scheme in Tasmania?

A container refund scheme is a very effective way of recovering beverage containers, by applying a deposit amount that you can get back when you return your containers to a refund point. This means that we can recover the resources in the material that the containers are made of. It is also more easily sorted and is cleaner which makes it a much more valuable commodity in recycling markets. It also means that beverage containers are less likely to end up as litter, making Tasmania cleaner. Beverage containers make up a significant part of the volume of litter in Tasmania.

Will the Tasmanian container refund scheme be the same as on the mainland?

Tasmania has undertaken a study to determine what the most appropriate model of scheme is best for us. This model combined with learnings from the experiences in the mainland states will ensure that what is established in Tasmania is the most effective and efficient scheme for us. ​ In terms of the details of the scheme that people will see; yes, it will be the same – ​Tasmania will apply the same deposit amount, and include the same range of containers that are included on the mainland. National consistency is important in our national retail market.

​Why does Tasmania need a waste levy? Won’t a waste levy make everything more expensive in Tasmania? 

There will be a small cost, estimated in the order of a cup of coffee per household per year. But there are many offsets that create economic activity in other areas. Various business and industry groups have said that investing in recycling and reprocessing technology is not possible in Tasmania, as it is far cheaper to just throw the input material (recycled material) into landfill. There is – as the economists say – a market failure at work. The full costs of landfilling are not included in the price, so applying a levy creates a more even playing field, so that recycling and reprocessing businesses are not operating at a cost-disadvantage. 

This is about helping to create a better circular economy, and creating the right environment for existing business in Tasmania to expand, and to allow for new and innovative businesses to establish here.

Won’t a levy just mean more dumping in our bushland and reserves?

Yes, this is a real risk. Which is one of the reasons why litter and dumping laws are being strengthened, with amendments to the Litter Act currently before the Parliament. The effectiveness of these changes will be monitored closely as they may need to be supported by additional compliance capacity. 

Won’t the charity bins just see more stuff being dumped in and around them?

Yes, this is a common problem where levies on landfilling are in place. The National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO) has been providing valuable guidance to fully understand the nature of the problem, and the sorts of options available to address the problem. The intention is to continue to partner with NACRO to assist local charity organisations in Tasmania – who do such fantastic work – to support the implementation of strategies and changes to infrastructure to prevent them become de facto waste depots.

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