Solar panel industry action ‘required to avoid landfill nightmare’

Australia’s solar panel industry has been put on notice and told to step up and embrace product stewardship.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the uptake of millions of solar panels across the country from rooftops to solar farms has been vital to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“[However], the explosion of retailers and importers in the area, and the lack of an industry-wide approach to collection and recycling, means that it also looms as a landfill nightmare,” Ms Ley told the National Press Club on Wednesday.

“We have had some significant wins with industry over the last year in getting global battery companies on board to a stewardship scheme and there are others that are going to have to step up in the very near future.

“I am announcing today that I am putting the solar panel industry on notice with clear timelines for action.”

Noting the export ban on mixed plastics is imminent, Ms Ley said the Commonwealth had committed more than $500 million towards transforming the recycling industry.

“The challenge goes well beyond plastic, tyres, paper and glass,” she said.

This year’s Federal Budget included a $67 million investment in Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO), Ms Ley told her audience.

“In Albury, where I live, we take for granted the ability to recycle our kitchen food waste.

“I am pursuing an agenda to get all states and territories on board [with FOGO] along with local councils to drive similar outcomes in the cities,” she said.