I have an urgent and promising ripple effect from one move, made outside Australian borders that yet could affect us in a most unusually beneficial way.
China will no longer import the recyclables of several large nations, Australia being one of them. Now this means we find another importer of this stuff, pay someone to fill land with it or figure out an internal solution.
So, the government decides that we need plants to recycle this stuff, turning it back into a cheap resource due to the abundance of supply. No one wants to spend that kind of money for so little potential return. So instead, local ingenuity and an inventive spirit create recycle houses. People buy old warehouses, hire big swaths of land and tell people that available within this house is a small amount of cash for your recyclables and all of the second hand resources you could ever need at a reasonable price. The government promotes these by subsidising business loans, removing the interest for loans under $1m, for people looking to start these recycle houses.
While this is going on, several hundreds of people are re-educated in the industry standards and national importance of the recycling industry as per a move to "Finalise the largest national forest reserve on the planet", removing the qualms of the Timber industry who will be hit even harder, as the pulp used for paper will become less necessary as we use recycled materials more commonly and look to protect our natural resources for the sake of the tourism industry and the legacy of policy makers.
Within the schools, workplaces, institutions and on social media, mainstream media there is educational material being pushed about proper recycling habits, asking to reduce-reuse-recycle, promoting the consumer to make wiser purchasing decisions. Which in turn puts pressure on manufacturers to change their habits, produce with more recycled material, promote better packaging methods, reduce packaging incrementally, reduce-reuse-recycle in house, offer subscription services where repeated delivery of similar items are done so in a reusable container (Think keep cup for coffee but for food delivery/medicine/books. There could be a service provided by delivery companies of renting delivery cases. A company delivers one hundred books in a standardised Delivery Case (Which is an industry in itself, making standardised delivery cases out of Australian recyclables and Hemp plastics (With Hemp becoming a boosted industry as consumers and manufacturers look for longer lasting, reusable and more sustainable resources)), the delivery companies charge a fee to rent their cases which is the same as paying for packaging and deliver the products where they need to go. The delivery company may have to separate some of the products into smaller Delivery cases, the price of these is charged to the person who the product is delivered to. They open their package and return the case to the delivery person or to the delivery company. A regular delivery could allow the returning of a case once a new one is received)
In response to a rising in contamination of rivers near landfill and some dodgy recycling plants, the Fungi industries following the science of Mycorestoration and using the products of Paul Stamets, offer burlap sacks that grow oyster mushrooms and clean the soil and waterways.
The potential for new industry growth, job creation and the generation of a more sustainable economy and ecology is immense.
A cultural shift will take place at the same time, with hefty penalties for too much waste or recyclables whether for companies and or individuals. Parents will impart on their children the responsibility of managing waste appropriately. The necessity of good quality, long lasting items will become more prominent.
This is a real opportunity to take a huge leap in the right direction. I don't want to make it seem easy, I included very little of the union push back, the political discourse, the distorted truth about the effectiveness of the various plans, the heinous disposal of the creeping piles of rotten matter, the price hikes for all sorts of things, companies hiring too many people and as the prices of things begin to equalise the eventual redundancy of a bunch of folk - that will be included in this paradigm shift, due to the negative view always garnering the first and most thorough examination. It will not be easy but, do we have a better idea?