ACOR kicks off development of recycling accreditation program

ACOR kicks off development of recycling accreditation program

The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) is developing a voluntary Recyclers’ Accreditation Program (RAP), commissioning a detailed analysis for the program’s design, including a feasibility study to be conducted by sustainability consultants Equilibrium.

The accreditation initiative was approved as part of ACOR’s Agenda 19 workplan of projects to foster domestic demand and markets for collected recyclate.

According to ACOR, the RAP will aim to ensure:

  • High standards of operational performance and accountability in Australian recycling activity.
  • Stakeholder, community and investor confidence in Australian recycling activity.|
  • Complementary arrangements to policy directions and regulatory obligations for Australian recycling activity.
  • Continual improvement in recovery rates from Australian recycling activity.

ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel said, “The recycling industry has a long history of innovation, continual improvement and collaboration along supply chains, and with governments and the community.

“RAP is the next logical step and we look forward to working with government and other partners to make sure it is accepted and drives performance and confidence,” he said.

What the RAP aims to cover

The program aims to address the collection and transport of recyclable materials from the Australian domestic, commercial and industrial, and construction and demolition sectors; the sorting, pre-treatment and storage of collected recyclable materials; the remanufacture of collected material into recycled content products; and the management of supply chain relationships, including those with export partners.

RAP will reference the following to develop the program:

  • International practices in accreditation and performance standards for the recycling industry, including existing and emerging schemes.
  • Existing and/or overlapping Australian schemes such as those for tyre and e-waste recyclers, as well as product stewardship schemes.
  • ‘Spheres of influence’ in the recycling supply chain and what Australian recyclers can or cannot directly control in performance terms, including ‘loss’ rates to residual waste from collected material that is contaminated.
  • The ‘proximity principle’ in relation to waste management.
  • Establishment of industry benchmarks for the purposes of the Queensland waste disposal levy’s concessional arrangements for recycling residuals and other potential public policy arrangements.
  • Local, state, federal, international and trading partner legal, regulatory and policy requirements, including those regarding the international movement and handling of materials.

RAP design considerations

The recycling sector will be extensively consulted in the design of the program. Independent third parties will be involved in determining accreditation achievement and its maintenance, which will include regular non-notified and notified inspection audits of facilities. Regular public reporting of accreditation scheme results and achievements will be incorporated into the system and alignment with an accreditation services provider is an option for consideration. ACOR has also added that in applicable cases, export documentation and supply chain provenance arrangements will be reviewed as part of the accreditation process, as well as material mass balance calculation and analysis.

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