Following China’s ban on import of foreign waste materials, Australia is facing a major crisis with waste stockpiling around the country and no place to go except landfill. The ban has displaced more than 600,000 tonnes of recyclable material, reigniting the debate around Australia’s desperate need to invest in recycling infrastructure.

While the ban presents an opportunity to review onshore recycling management, the lack of solutions has started building up pressure on local and state governments, with recycling companies unable to handle the waste being collected by local councils, which in turn may impact kerbside recycling.

Industry leaders are calling out to governments to take collective action on building adequate capabilities to manage the country’s waste internally.

Modular Walls believes that government bodies are not the only agents of change; everyone has the power – and responsibility – to contribute to the solution.

Tony Khoury, who heads the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW, sees a solution in using Australia’s massive stockpiles of recycled glass in roadwork.

Waste glass from bottles, jars, plate glass, drinkware and crockery among others can be repurposed by crushing into sand and used for road base, asphalt, drainage work or pipe bedding, replacing fresh sand. With the massive road infrastructure works being undertaken across Australia, repurposing glass could offer a sustainable solution for the collected glass waste, which could otherwise end up in landfill.

Australians need to rise up to the challenge and accept the power and responsibility of creating a sustainable future by being the true agents of change.