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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Huge New Target for Milk Carton Recycling

22 April 1998

Australia has signed on to an ambitious new recycling target - to remove 500 million milk and juice cartons from our waste stream each year.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has signed an agreement with Australia’s Liquidpaperboard Carton Manufacturers to reach the target by 2000.

Senator Hill says its an enormous challenge for both the manufacturers and the public.

“Australians use a billion liquidpaperboard cartons a year. The manufacturers and the public already do an excellent job by ensuring 150 million of them are recycled each year and don’t end up in landfills.

“Now the manufacturers are ready to take on a new challenge and increase that recycling rate to 500 million a year.

“They will also look at product redesign, reducing weight, more efficient production and sensible disposal options for drink containers at sporting events.

“Our manufacturers have already achieved a waste reduction rate of 21 per cent and a recycling rate of 15 per cent. This compares with a rate of about 5 per cent in the United States and 12 per cent in Japan where much of the waste is converted to energy.

“The new commitment will keep them as a world leader in recycling and waste reduction efforts.”

Senator Hill says the public will play an key role in increasing the recycling rate and should understand how big the challenge is:

Senator Hill says the liquidpaperboard manufacturers have shown strong leadership on recycling issues.

“Industry has again put its hand up and shown it is willing to play its part.

“The aim now is to improve community participation in recycling materials and purchasing recycled products.”

The LPB Industry Waste Reduction Agreement builds on the achievements of four existing agreements with the HDPE, Steel Can, Paper Packaging and Newsprint industries that are expected to:

The Association of Liquidpaperboard Carton Manufacturers (representing Southcorp Packaging and Tetra Pak Marketing) has signed the Industry Waste Reduction Agreements (IWRA). The companies have already invested many millions in new technology that produce new products from recycled material. Most LBP containers are made into office paper by Australian Paper Mills at Shoalhaven. A one litre carton makes five sheets of quality paper

LPB is made from extremely high quality paper fibres that are coated with a thin lining of low density polyethylene (LDPE). Until recently the technology was not available to allow the lining to be removed and some people remained confused about the recyclability of the cartons. Now the long fibres that do not need to be bleached provide an excellent resource for high quality recycled office grade paper.

Senator Hill says an additional $5 million has been allocated for waste minimisation from the Natural Heritage Trust to continue the Commonwealth’s efforts to promote waste reduction.

Media contacts: Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Jim Cannon (Environment Australia) 02 6274 1076

April 22, 1998

Commonwealth of Australia