The Australian Government recently announced that it will commit $190 million to a new Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) that will generate $600 million of recycling investment and drive a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity.
The government claims that more than 10,000 jobs will be created and over 10 million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill to the making of useful products as Australia turbo charges its recycling capacity.
The RMF will support innovative investment in new infrastructure to sort, process and remanufacture materials such as mixed plastic, paper, tyres and glass, with Commonwealth funding contingent on co-funding from industry, states and territories.
Australia’s waste and recycling transformation is being further strengthened by an additional:
- $35 million to implement Commonwealth commitments under Australia’s National Waste Policy Action Plan, which sets the direction for waste management and recycling in Australia until 2030.
- $24.6 million on Commonwealth commitments to improve our national waste data so it can measure recycling outcomes and track progress against our national waste targets.
- The introduction of new Commonwealth waste legislation to formally enact the Government’s waste export ban and encourage companies to take greater responsibility for the waste they generate, from product design through to recycling, remanufacture or disposal (Product Stewardship).
The moves are part of a national strategy to change the way Australia looks at waste, grow the economy, protect the environment and reach a national resource recovery target of 80% by 2030.
“As we cease shipping our waste overseas, the waste and recycling transformation will reshape our domestic waste industry, driving job creation and putting valuable materials back into the economy,” Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said in a recent news release.
“Australians need to have faith that the items they place in their kerbside recycling bins will be re-used in roads, carpet, building materials and a range of other essential items.
“At the same time, we need to stop throwing away tonnes of electronic waste and batteries each year and develop new ways to recycle valuable resources.
“As we pursue National Waste Policy Action Plan targets, we need manufacturers and industry to take a genuine stewardship role that helps create a sustainable circular economy.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to remodel waste management, reduce pressure on our environment and create economic opportunity.”
Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, said that the unparalleled expansion of Australia’s recycling capacity followed close consultation with industry.
“Our targeted investment will grow Australia’s circular economy, create more jobs and build a stronger onshore recycling industry,” Assistant Minister Evans said.
“Australian companies are turning plastics and household waste into furniture, decking, fencing and clothing, and we are developing new domestic markets for recycled materials by setting national standards for recycled content in roads and making recycled products a focus of procurement for infrastructure, defence estate management and general government purchasing.
“Our targeted investment will grow Australia’s circular economy, create more jobs and build a stronger onshore recycling industry.
“Companies are already moving with The Pact Group announcing a $500 million investment in facilities, research and technology, Coca-Cola Amatil committing to new recycling targets, and Pact, Cleanaway and Asahi Beverages establishing a $30 million recycling facility in Albury.”
Waste export ban to start from January 2021
The unparalleled expansion of Australia’s recycling capacity follows the 2019 National Waste Policy Action Plan, Australia’s government ban on exports of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres, and this year’s first ever National Plastics Summit.
The waste export ban was due to commence on July 1st, 2020. After consulting with industry and as a result of restrictions related to COVID-19 impacting Parliament’s ability to pass legislation in by July 1st, the ban will now commence on January 1st, 2021. The schedule for implementing the export ban on waste plastic, paper and tyres remains unchanged.