Plastics reprocessing rate ‘continuing to rise nationally’

Nearly 394,000 tonnes of plastics were recycled in 2018-19, a 23 percent increase on the previous year, a new Federal Government survey shows.

In all, 3.5 million tonnes of plastics were consumed in Australia in the 2018-19 financial year.

Of the 393,800 tonnes of plastics collected for reprocessing, 203,100 tonnes (52 percent) were reprocessed in Australia and 190,700 tonnes (48 percent) were exported for reprocessing.

About 72,000 tonnes of the plastics that were recycled were sent to energy recovery.

The annual Australian Plastics Recycling Survey has been undertaken annually since 2000 and is commissioned by the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), and state agencies from NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australian.

This information is collected through a detailed survey of reprocessors, resin manufacturers and importers, and extensive interrogation of Australian Customs data.

The 2018-19 report also contains an assessment of the national consumption of plastic retail carry bags, updating work undertaken in the previous financial year.

DAWE says the survey “provides a comprehensive picture of the consumption, flow, and recycling of plastics in Australia, the state of reprocessing markets and help to inform product stewardship developments.

“The survey is a valuable tool for promotion, knowledge of the industry and forward planning, including policy development and the tracking of policy outcomes to further improve plastics resource efficiency.”