Rethinking recycling: could a circular economy solve the problem?

July 15, 2018, The Guardian: "With more funding and product stewardship, the recycling crisis could turn into an opportunity."

"There’s nothing like a crisis to spur on the search for a solution.

Since January, when China stopped accepting our contaminated recycling, Australia has been struggling with a waste crisis. While some local councils have tried to adapt their processes, some have been stockpiling recycling while others are sending it straight to landfill. And there’s still no long-term solution in place.

Some of the options discussed so far – such as reforming kerbside recycling or creating a national container deposit scheme – have focused on improving the quality of our recycling. This would bump up its value, reduce the cost and in some cases make it so clean it could sail through China’s strict new contamination rules.

But for campaigners, the crisis could be the ideal opportunity to rethink recycling in Australia and shift away from export altogether. Environmentalists, waste companies and the recent Senate inquiry have argued that we need to invest in the recycling industry, improve product stewardship schemes and move towards a circular economy, where everything we put in our recycling bin is bought and reused within the country."