Issues and Challenges Confronting the Achievement of Zero Plastic Waste in Victoria, Australia

Anne W.M. Ng, Srenghang Ly, Nitin Muttil, Cuong Ngoc Nguyen

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Despite the increase in popularity of the zero waste (ZW) concept, the successful implementation of this concept in waste management is still facing many challenges. The plastic recycling rate in Australia is at only about 9.4% (in 2017-2018). The state of Victoria (in Australia) has proposed an ambitious 10-year plan to upgrade its waste and recycling system and to divert about 80% of waste from landfills by 2030. The aim of this research is to study this currently proposed waste management plan and to develop a simulation model to assess the feasibility of achieving 80% diversion rate by 2030. The feasibility of achieving zero plastic waste by 2035 has also been assessed. In this direction, the existing knowledge of global ZW implementation has been reviewed to gain understanding of the challenges, obstacles, and uncertainties in achieving the ZW target. A simulation model is established using a method called double baselines. This method was developed to address the limitation of data availability for the model development. The model was run in 4 scenarios including one for Victoria’s current 10-year plan. Outcomes from the model are produced using six key considerations, including the rate of plastic consumption, waste to landfill, diversion rate, recycling rate, relative accumulative effort, and cost. The findings of this study point out that Victoria’s current plan for achieving an 80% diversion rate by 2030 is possible. On the other hand, the study results also suggest that achieving zero plastic waste by 2035 is less likely to happen. Hence, opportunities for improvement especially towards achieving the zero plastic waste are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


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