Corporate Information

Australian Imports: Increase Of Plastics In 2020

The new normal which is 2020 has altered the mix of import commodities. Compared to the previous years, ANL has seen a change in the top import commodities; in particular, the increase of plastic imports.

Within the first half of 2020, ANL has imported 29,278 TEUs of plastic products into Australia. Of these various types of plastic, Poly vinyl chloride plastic (also known as PVC), in its primary form, takes top spot as the most plastic type to be imported in Australia thus far with volumes of more than 2,3000 TEUs.

This type of plastic is used to create multiple items ranging from pipes and hoses, to medical devices, raincoats, toys and shoes (1). Over 85% of the PVC that has been imported in Australia so far this year has come from Taiwan, which is unsurprising as Taiwan is one of the leading manufacturers of plastic in the world. While the idea of importing plastic in such high volumes seems less sustainable than other options, this is not the case. Unlike some of its other plastic counterparts PVC tend to be a cheap but long-standing alternative to single use plastic which aligns with consumer trends here in Australia. Furthermore, research has shown that PVC is effective in protecting the environment in terms of low greenhouse gas emission and the conservation of resources and energy (1).

Plastic boxes, cases and crates are the second highest type of imported plastic with a recorded volume of more than 2,000 TEU so far this year. Ranging from plastic boxes used for storage purposes, to crates used to carry beverages, ANL imports mostly from China, accounting for almost 70% of the imports. Additionally, data has shown that Melbourne is highest importer of these plastics.

Finally, plates, sheets, film and foil are the third highest type of imported plastic into Australia with a recorded volume of almost 1,800 TEU within the first six months of the year. These plastics can be defined as every day house hold items, outlining the reason for such a high volume of imports. The country of Malaysia has taken the top supplier spot for plastic imports of this kind, accounting for roughly 60% of Australia’s imports so far.

In conclusion, while it can be said that there is an increase of plastic imports into Australia so far this year, it can be seen that the ‘top’ plastics that are used are not for single use, but rather they are plastics that allow consumers to make use of them for a longer amount of time, without having an effect on the environment.

Shane Walden, Managing Director has outlined “ANL and the Group have placed environmental sustainability at the forefront of all of our goals. With this in mind, it is good to see that the importing of single-use plastics has declined and plastics that are long-lasting, beneficial and have less of a negative impact on the environment are what consumers want. Obviously, in a perfect world, there will be no need for plastics, however, we must look at what can be done in this current moment in time and take the necessary steps to ensure that the plastic used, has less of a detrimental impact on the environment.