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Ship garbage recycling

a bulk carrier at a dock

Work is underway to boost recycling options for waste from international ships visiting  Australian ports.

AMSA is working with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), with the support of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water (DCCEEW), to gather data about recycling in participating ports. The data  will be used by DAFF for a biosecurity risk assessment. The risk assessment will inform the development of a nationally consistent recycling framework for international ship waste in Australian ports.

This effort is part of our commitment to sustainable shipping and protecting the marine environment.

Maritime recycling risk assessment trial 

Due to Australia’s strict biosecurity procedures and practices most waste from ships cannot be treated through regular domestic recycling streams and ends up in landfill.

Based on this assumption, AMSA is working with DAFF to conduct the maritime recycling risk assessment trial (MRRAT).  

The MRRAT will pave the way for a recycling framework to allow international ships recycle waste in Australian ports.

The risk assessment is a collaboration between AMSA, DAFF and these 6 ports:  

  • Overseas Passenger Terminal   
  • White Bay Cruise Terminal   
  • Port Botany’s Bulk Liquids Berth   
  • Fremantle Port
  • Gladstone Port  
  • Port of Hay Point. 

Participating port authorities provide access for waste service providers to the terminals and collection points for the recyclable waste. The ports are also helping to promote this initiative across all stakeholders involved in the waste management value chain.

The trial includes the following categories of recyclables:

  • plastic bottles, cups and containers
  • glass bottles and jars
  • paper and cardboard
  • aluminium, tin and steel cans.

Once the trial period ends, DAFF will use the data gathered to conduct a biosecurity risk assessment of the procedures and practices onboard ships and after waste discharge.

How to participate

The trial relies on the participation of port authorities and shipping operators, either in the recycling trial or via the survey on DAFF’s website.

Visit the Maritime Recycling Project page on the DAFF website.

Last updated: 14 May 2024