Imagine if all our plastic waste could be diverted from landfill and kept out of our streams, rivers and oceans.
Imagine if it could all be recycled and have another life as decking, bollards, pallets, fencing, fitness trails, prosthetic limbs and more.
Some of this is already happening, but on a much smaller scale than we need.
We know plastic never breaks down completely, and we know that the vast majority of plastic ever made is still in existence.
This is why we need to start using a lot less plastic, and why we need to find ways of recycling the billions of tonnes of plastic already out there.
For the recycling part of the equation, two key requirements are technology and markets.
We need to continue developing technology to recycle plastics into other products in a cost-effective manner.
And we need to establish markets for those products. My motion to Orange City Council on November 19 aimed to progress the second of these.
The motion was that council review its material procurement policies and practices with a view to increasing procurement of products that use recycled materials.
One council favouring products - such as playground equipment and park benches made out of recycled materials - might not make a large difference.
But if all 128 councils in NSW were to do so, we could start to see some real momentum.
This is a major part of what Local Government NSW's Save Our Recycling campaign is all about.
Relaunching the campaign at the LGNSW annual conference, president Cr Linda Scott spoke of the need to develop a circular economy where recycling is processed in Australia and made into products for local markets.
Cr Scott called on councils to play a part by favouring products using recycled materials.
The campaign also features an education campaign promoting recycling, as well as strategies to encourage innovation in recycling industries.
And while plastic waste is a major focus, the campaign also targets other recyclable waste like paper, cardboard and construction waste.
While the recycling crisis may have dropped out of the headlines, it hasn't gone away. Council support for the campaign is a small but important step towards developing long-term solutions. For more, visit www.lgnsw.org.au/news/system-page/save-our-recycling
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