Australian environment minister Greg Hunt © Press Association Images
Australian environment minister Greg Hunt © Press Association Images

Australian environment minister calls on government to use 100% recycled paper

Adam Leach is a freelance business journalist
1 February 2016

Australia's environment minister Greg Hunt has called on buyers across government to exclusively buy recycled paper in all but exceptional circumstances.

But Hunt stopped short of calling for all recycled paper to be domestically produced.

In a letter to finance minister Mathias Cormann, Hunt sought consideration of amendments to stationery supply arrangements that would make it standard all paper for general usage would be recycled.

Highlighting the sustainability benefits and the opportunity to increase support for the domestic paper industry, he said: "I seek your consideration of what amendments can be made to the (stationery and office supplies panel) arrangement to ensure that Australian government entities use 100% recycled paper, except where operational needs require the use of an alternative paper type."

He argued the move would "contribute towards continuing opportunities for the Australian recycled paper manufacturing industry."

In response to the call, industry body Australian Paper welcomed the move to recycled paper but called for the government to go further by requiring it to be recycled in Australia.

"The Australian government can only close the local recycling loop by recognising the sustainability advantages of the world-class recycled copy and printing papers made here in the Latrobe Valley," said Craig Dunn, sustainability, communication and marketing manager at Australian Paper said.

Hunt highlighted while trade agreements might restrict the possibility of a blanket ban on non-domestic supplies, added benefits such as its contribution to the country’s National Waste Policy and environmental benefits offered buyers scope to choose domestic over foreign.

Last year the government tried and failed to achieve 100% recycled in its paper purchasing after a policy was dropped shortly after being implemented.

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