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[GreenYes] several recent attacks on Zero Waste.

Below is just one of several recent attacks on Zero Waste. Another can be found at:

xiv-2006.en_ (

In the Download agenda Billet D’etat I. This includes a rebuttal of the high recycling rates claimed for various zero waste administrations. I haven’t had time to go through these in detail yet and wonder whether anybody has collected recent (and validated/ referenced) data on the actual diversion rates which could be used as a rebuttal?

Many thanks and best wishes


Australia - zero waste goals 'unrealistic'

The Australian Federal Government has taken a swipe at State and Territory Governments for adopting "zero waste" strategies as costly and unrealistic.

The Herald Sun newspaper reports that the report by the Productivity Commission released on December 19 found many had adopted "inappropriate and inconsistent" objectives.

The commission, charged with the study by Treasurer Peter Costello attacked government policies of charging extra landfill taxes as a way of cutting waste and boost revenue, and described many alternative waste technologies as expensive with "questionable" environmental benefits.

The commission also found local governments should not be disposing of rubbish in large urban centres, that "pay-as-you-throw" charges should be introduced for kerbside collections, and that container deposits - such as those in place in South Australia were too costly.

Key points

* State and territory waste management policies contain some inappropriate and inconsistent objectives. These have led to some jurisdictions adopting unrealistic, and potentially very costly, waste minimisation targets * These policies are giving rise to some unsound interventions including: - using landfill levies to achieve waste diversion targets and raise revenue; - subsidising waste recovery options, such as alternative waste technologies, that are costly and have questionable environmental benefits; and - introducing mandatory product stewardship or extended producer responsibility schemes, where disposal problems have not been adequately demonstrated. * Waste management policy should be refocused on the environmental and social impacts of waste collection and disposal, and supported by more rigorous cost-benefit analysis, if it is to best serve the community. * As a general rule, policy makers should not use waste management policies to address upstream environmental impacts. Where warranted, these are much more effectively and efficiently addressed using direct policy instruments, and often already are. * Directly addressing relevant market failures and distortions throughout product life cycles will assist markets to achieve the right balance between waste avoidance, resource recovery and disposal. * Regulation of disposal has improved considerably in recent years, and where complied with, appears to have been very effective. However, compliance with landfill regulations could be improved considerably. * Waste disposal fees should be based on the full social, environmental and financial costs involved. For landfills, this will require: - tightening regulatory compliance so that landfill gate fees include the costs of the regulatory measures needed to address disposal externalities; but - abolishing landfill levies (taxes) as these are not based on legitimate costs. * Basic forms of pay-as-you-throw pricing for kerbside waste and recycling services, should be more widely adopted, with information on the actual costs for these services better communicated to households. * In most large urban centres, for reasons of scale and planning (as with sewage and electricity), managing waste disposal is no longer best handled by local governments. * The Australian Government should play a leadership role in facilitating (relevant) reforms, and where appropriate, developing sound, nationally consistent waste management policies.

The study found Australians generated 32.4 million tonnes of solid waste each year, with about 15 million tonnes recovered for recycling.

Copies of the inquiry report (2.2 MB) can be downloaded from the Commission's website at:
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Alan Watson C.Eng
Public Interest Consultants Oakleigh Wernffrwd Gower Swansea SA4 3TY Wales UK

Tel: + 44 (0)1792 851599 Fax: +44 (0)1792 850056 P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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