New recycling and waste laws

The Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020 became law. The new legislation will implement the 2020 commitment of the Australian Governments (through the former Council of Australian Governments (COAG)) to ban the export of waste glass, plastics, tyres and paper.

The commitment to ban the export of certain waste materials featured as Target 1 within the National Waste Policy Action Plan 2019. The Action Plan includes actions aimed at driving change in industry, businesses, governments and the community to turn waste into a reusable commodity.

The export of waste glass is now regulated under these new laws. From 1 January 2021 exporters will no longer be able to send unprocessed waste glass overseas.

Exporters of processed waste glass will need to hold a waste glass export licence. Applications for an export licence can be made online using the Waste Export and Licensing Declaration portal.

Rules for waste plastics, tyres and paper will be phased in over time. Rules for plastics will come into effect on 1 July 2021 (stage 1) and 1 July 2022 (stage 2); tyres on 1 December 2021; and paper on

1 July 2024. Exporters of these materials will need a licence to export by the required date. 

Information on transitioning to the regulation of exports of waste plastic, tyres and paper can be found at