Australians could be hit by the world’s first “recycling tax”, dealing a new blow to households already struggling with a cost of living crisis.
The Albanian government has proposed making several changes to the export of waste paper and cardboard from Australia from 1 July.
Under the proposed plan, exporters will have to pay $30,000 for a license and a $4 fee for each ton shipped abroad.
The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) warned tens of millions of dollars would have to be transferred to Australians to cover rising costs.
The recycling body has called on Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to abandon the proposed changes.
Australians’ yellow bins contain 48 per cent paper and cardboard. If the ‘recycling tax’ comes into force on July 1, new industrial costs will be passed on to households
The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) warned tens of millions of dollars would have to be transferred to Australians to cover rising costs (file image)
In 2022, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed that Australia had the fourth highest income tax in the world.
Average Australians paid tax on 23.2 per cent of their wages, a figure that is well above the average of 14.9 per cent across the 38 OECD countries.
Paper and cardboard make up 48 per cent of the recyclable waste Australians put in their yellow bins.
NWRIC chief executive Rick Ralph sent a letter to the government’s Expenditure Review Committee (ERC), including Premier Anthony Albanese, on 22 January.
Ralph told Daily Mail Australia that the industry’s new costs would be automatically passed on to households “through council rates”.
“The more Australian households recycle, the more we have to export and the more we have to pay the government,” he said.
“The tariffs apply to all recycled tyres, plastics, glass, paper and cardboard that we export or landfill locally due to limited Australian markets for the volumes we recover.”
Mr. Ralph said The Australian The proposed changes would worsen the cost of living crisis.
‘[It] “It will leave all taxpayers with the world’s first yellow bin ‘recycling tax’ if this goes ahead,” he said.
“A recycling tax is another increase in the cost of living and another breach of the trust of the Australian community.”
Visy and Opal are the only Australian companies that purchase recyclable paper and cardboard.
This means that each year there is a surplus of around 1.2 million tonnes (about half of the total) that must be exported for recycling.
The industry has said the new tariff was proposed without a regulatory impact statement from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water.
Ralph said there was no evidence that complying with the proposed new rule would be beneficial to Australians and warned waste exporters would have to shell out a lot of money.
Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said she is just cleaning up the recycling industry after the coalition left it in a “mess”.
Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek was cleaning up the mess left by the previous government, which left the country’s recycling capacity “inadequate.”
‘That’s why we’re investing $1 billion in recycling infrastructure to recycle an extra million tonnes of waste each year. “We will continue to work with the industry on a sensible path towards implementation,” he stated.
Ms Plibersek said the new tax had “been in place for a long time”.
“What the previous government said at the time is that Australia should deal with Australian rubbish and we should recycle more in Australia,” he said.
‘The problem was that they didn’t set up any kind of system to achieve their goal, which was to recycle Australian paper and cardboard.
‘That’s why, since we came to government, we have been building better recycling infrastructure.
‘We should not export our rubbish abroad to be treated, where possible, do it here. We should do it here.’
He said the tax was “not yet in force” and the government was working with the industry.