The Green Party has welcomed the release of the Government’s waste strategy, but says it has a big gap without action on the container return scheme for beverage containers.

“We need to reduce plastic pollution urgently and avoid waste going to landfill. The Greens began work on this strategy last term, so we are pleased to see good progress and the launch of the strategy,” says Green Party environment and waste spokesperson, Eugenie Sage.

“We’re also pleased that the Government has continued to push towards standardised kerbside recycling around the country.

“This will make it much easier for households to recycle correctly, and will also allow more products and materials to be recovered and reprocessed for reuse.

“However, the recent deferral of the beverage container return scheme is a lost opportunity for increasing recycling rates, and reducing the cost of kerbside collection on councils and communities.

“A beverage container return scheme is win-win for people and nature. Avoiding plastic pollution and reducing waste costs for councils and communities is a “bread and butter” issue.

“We are in a climate emergency, so it is absolutely essential we meet targets of a 30% reduction in biogenic methane emissions from waste by 2030.

“Promoting kerbside collection of food scraps and supporting composting initiatives is crucial to help households do more to avoid waste to landfill. Food scraps make up around a third of household rubbish each week and decomposing organic material in landfills leads to methane emissions.

“The Greens have always been clear that our communities and economy need to shift to being circular and promoting a zero-waste principle.

“That is why we would seek to have a Minister for Zero Waste if voters enable the Greens to be part of the next government after the election.

“A Green Minister for Zero Waste would prioritise supporting community initiatives, encouraging reuse and refillable systems and the recovery, reuse, and recycling of materials across the economy from the building and construction sector to manufacturing and agriculture,” says Sage.