Morrison’s $190 Million Plan For Recycling Sector

PET bottle for recycling
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The Morrison government has announced a new $190 million package to increase Australia’s recycling infrastructure, hoping to save 10-million tonnes of recyclables entering landfills. 

Under the plan, the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) will put forward funds for recycling infrastructure if it is backed monetarily by State and Territory governments, as well as industry bodies. 

The Morrison government hopes its $190 million pledge will result in more than $600 million worth of investment and economic activity in the sector. 

It says that in addition to the $190 million already pledged, $24.6 million will be added to update its waste data technology to accurately track recyclable materials. Finally, $35 million has been slated for improvements that bring Australia in-line with its 2019 National Waste Policy Action Plan

The National Waste Policy aims for a 80% resource recovery target, updating Australia’s recycling infrastructure and upcycling technologies, and bans exports of recyclable waste. 

Graphic taken from the National Waste Policy Action Plan

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The Government has pushed back the first deadline for its export ban, reportedly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. First scheduled for the middle of 2020, these bans on exporting recyclable glass will now come into effect on January 1st, 2021. 

A ban on the export of mixed plastics will now be implemented on the 1st of July, 2021, with a ban on exporting tyres from the 1st of December, 2021, and single resin polymer plastics from July 1st, 2022. 

Finally, a ban on exporting paper and cardboard will come into effect on the 1st of July, 2024. 

Sussan Ley, the government’s environment minister has said that it’s imperative for state and territory governments to match the government’s investments because “we need manufacturers and industry to take a genuine stewardship role that helps create a sustainable circular economy.” 

Circular economy diagram
Graphic taken from the National Waste Policy Action Plan

“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,” she continued to explain. 

“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.” 

“This is a one-in-a-generation opportunity to remodel waste management, reduce pressure on our environment and create economic opportunity,” Ley concluded. 

Earlier this year, Scott Morrison announced his government’s intention to increase demand for recycled products, and kick-start a circular economy. 

Trevor Evans, assistant minister for waste reduction and environment has said that “our targeted investment will grow Australia’s circular economy, create more jobs and build a stronger onshore recycling industry.” 

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