Legal Strategies to Cure the Plastic Planet: Corporate Marriage and Public Health Regulation of Single-Use Non-Biodegradeable Plastics

JLM 2018; 26: 311-321

11 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2019

See all articles by Angela Gock

Angela Gock

ANU College of Law

Edward Dale

ANU College of Law

Lucinda Ou-Yang

ANU College of Law

Sally Wheeler

Australian National University (ANU)

Thomas Alured Faunce

Australian National University

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

The 2018 export ban of recyclables to China provided an additional important reason for Australia in particular to act internationally and domestically to reduce its plastic waste. The problems Australia faces from single use non-biodegradeable plastics are replicated in every nation on Earth. Focusing on the Australian context, this article will examine regulatory approaches to the problem of plastic production, consumption and disposal and its negative impact on public and ecosystem health. It will scrutinise the current legal framework for managing plastic waste at both the Commonwealth, State and international levels, advocating greater regulation. Its regulatory recommendations will include a Pigouvian tax in the form of an excise on plastic production to alter consumer behaviour and raise revenue for further investment in reusable alternatives. They also will include a consideration of mandatory corporate responsibility obligations, a concept we here term ‘corporate marriage.’ Our proposal of corporate marriage is designed to move corporations away from the voluntary and unconnected nature of CSR commitments to a corporation’s activities to a model which demands recognition and quantification of harm caused by individual corporations. Corporations could either design a sustainable long-term intervention in partnership with a local community, local government or NGO that directly ameliorated the effects of their corporate activity with annual progress certified by an agreed third party or face an increased taxation burden. The documentary records of this partnership and the annual certified updates would form part of the corporation’s registered public documents. Other alternative and additional measures to combat single-use plastic waste as utilised in other jurisdictions will be proposed for Australian implementation.

Note: This publication is copyright. Other than for the purposes of and subject to the conditions prescribed under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part of it may in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, microcopying, photocopying, recording or otherwise) be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted without prior written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Limited. PO Box 3502, Rozelle NSW 2039. legal.thomsonreuters.com.au

This article was first published by Thomson Reuters in the Journal of Law and Medicine and should be cited as Gock A, Dale E, Ou-Yang L, Wheeler S, Faunce T, Legal Strategies to Cure the Plastic Planet: Corporate Marriage and Public Health Regulation of Single-Use Non-Biodegradeable Plastics, 2018, 26(2), JLM, 311.

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Keywords: Plastics Tax, Non-Biodegradeable Plastics, Corporate Marriage, Corporate Social Responsibility, Plastic Waste, Plastics Recycling

JEL Classification: Q58, Q01, Q55, Q52, H41, H20, I18

Suggested Citation

Gock, Angela and Dale, Edward and Ou-Yang, Lucinda and Wheeler, Sally and Faunce, Thomas Alured, Legal Strategies to Cure the Plastic Planet: Corporate Marriage and Public Health Regulation of Single-Use Non-Biodegradeable Plastics (2018). JLM 2018; 26: 311-321. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3323910

Angela Gock

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Edward Dale

ANU College of Law

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Lucinda Ou-Yang

ANU College of Law

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Sally Wheeler

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Thomas Alured Faunce (Contact Author)

Australian National University ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
61 2 61253563 (Phone)

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