The fate of your rubbish is about to change in a big way

Australia's environment ministers have agreed to a draft timeline for the national waste export ban.

At a meeting in Adelaide on Friday the ministers, led by federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, decided glass waste would be the first product banned from July next year.

Mixed plastics will be banned one year later and tyres by December 2021. The rest - including paper and cardboard - will no longer be sent overseas by the end of June 2020.

The ban will apply to all waste that isn't being turned into a valuable material overseas.

The ministers were tasked with developing the timeline after Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with premiers in August.

Glass waste is set the be the first rubbish item to be banned from being exported. Source: File/Getty Images

The government was forced to come up with a new way to deal with Australia's waste after China imposed a ban on foreign waste imports last year, followed by Malaysia.

Indonesia recently sent back containers of plastic waste to Australia.

The federal government has put $20 million towards growing Australia's recycling industry and starting the transition to banning waste exports.

The ministers on Friday created new targets in a bid to improve local recycling. This includes recovering 80 per cent of materials across all waste types, ensuring government uses more recycled materials and halving the amount of organic waste sent to landfill.

Major changes are set to be made to the way Australia exports waste. Source: File/Getty Images

Climate change and Australia's emissions reduction strategy was on the agenda, with the federal government tasked to explain how its plan works at the minister's yet-to-be-scheduled next meeting.

The broad ranging agenda also covered biodiversity, eradicating feral cats, indigenous heritage, ivory trade and container deposit schemes.


The communique says the ministers agreed to a national strategy for nature, to strengthen Australia's biodiversity and look after the environment.

Wilderness Society national environment laws campaign manager Suzanne Milthorpe said a clear plan was needed to recover wildlife.

"Even a problem as big as Australia's spiralling extinction rate is fixable, but to fix it Australia needs all levels of government working together to drive real action on the ground," she said ahead of the meeting.

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